How to negotiate a raise

How to negotiate a raise

You work hard and it shows. You’re productive, competent and you have a reputation for taking risks and thinking outside of the box. Now that you’ve proven yourself, it’s time to ask yourself if you’re being adequately compensated. Perhaps it’s time for a raise.

In today’s economy, businesses are not as free with their money as they’ve been in the past, and raises in salary aren’t easy to come by. Still, if you’re deserving, you should be rewarded. Read on for some tips on negotiating a raise.

Make an Appointment

Don’t barge into your supervisor’s office and demand a raise. Also, don’t ask to be squeezed in. Make an appointment. Let her know you have an urgent business matter to discuss and you’d like to set a time or date in the very near future. By making an appointment, you’re telling your employer you know she’s a busy person and you respect her enough to have your meeting at her convenience. It will also mean you have her undivided attention, something you may not have at a hurried last-minute meeting.

Dress for success

On the day of your meeting, dress as you would for a job interview or business conference. By taking care of your appearance, you’re letting those in charge know that you’re a responsible individual who takes these matters seriously. Your supervisor will be more receptive to a neat, well-dressed individual than to someone who didn’t take the time to groom or dress properly.

Be prepared

Update your resume and list all positive attributes. Identify all ways in which you benefit your team as well as your company. Outline your leadership skills as well as your future goals. Have there been occasions when you’ve saved money or made your department run in a more efficient manner? Do you meet all deadlines? Are you a team leader as well as a team player? What is your attendance record? These are all items you should be prepared to discuss.

If there have been many occasions in the past where your performance was less than exemplary, note this and be prepared to offer an explanation. Don’t offer excuses or point fingers, however. You’ll want to take responsibility for your own actions. Be prepared to debate your positive as well as your negative attributes. Take notes and show up for your appointment with a neatly typed outline; make one copy for you and one copy for everyone else who will be attending the meeting just in case they ask.

Don’t mention your personal life. If your rent was raised or your daughter needs braces that may be good enough for you, but it means nothing to your employer and doesn’t show good cause for a salary increase. Never be petty and bring others into the discussion. Don’t name names and say how you perform better than certain co-workers and don’t gossip about another employee’s personal life. If that’s all you have to go on, you’re not a good candidate for a raise.

Have a figure in mind

Do your research. What’s the going rate for others in your position? Be fair. In order to be taken seriously, it has to be a reasonable request. Don’t ask your employer what she feels you should earn; come up with a figure yourself and use that as a negotiating point. If she makes an offer and it’s less than what you had in mind, let her know you’ll need a little time to think it over and make a second appointment.

Prepare your rebuttal

Consider your employer’s proposal, is it fair? Be flexible, and put yourself in your boss’s position. If the offer is a good one, accept it with a handshake and do the best job you can do to prove you’ve earned that increase. If you feel the offer is too low, don’t tell your employer you feel insulted, instead, outline all points mentioned at the meeting and list why you feel you’re deserving of a higher increase.

Don’t be unreasonable, however, as you may blow your chances. Before you counteroffer, consider whether or not your employer is likely to budge and offer an increase over the original offer. If you feel you might be pushing it, graciously accept the original offer. If you feel you’re not being adequately compensated for the job you do, you might want to consider seeking employment elsewhere.

Once your raise is negotiated and you leave the room, go back to your desk and do your job. Don’t discuss the negotiations with your co-workers and don’t call your spouse to brag unless you’re positive no one can hear. You just proved yourself to your supervisor; don’t blow it by discussing confidential office business with others.

No one enjoys asking for a raise, but it’s a necessary part of the business. While you’re negotiating, be respectful, responsible, and polite. Don’t argue or speak in anger, think about what you’re going to say and choose your words carefully. Above all, never let emotions play a part in your negotiating. If you’re confident, you’ll do fine. Remember, it never hurts to ask.

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