Negotiating salary is, for most people, the hardest part of the job process and the cause of considerable anxiety. Follow these tips to manage the process successfully and with minimum stress.
Wait for the Right Moment. The right time to ask for a raise is right after you've achieved something significant, for example, completed a tough project under budget, or when your boss or other key person has complimented you. If money is tight in the company and you have not made any significance contributions lately to help offset that problem, now may not be a good time to ask for a larger share of a dwindling pool of money. Timing also refers to the company's policies and procedures in terms of the amount of time between reviews and raises -- and when it's "acceptable" to ask for a raise.
Broach the Topic Professionally And Stay Emotionally Neutral. Be professional, polite, and respectful. Always negotiate your salary with your direct superior. Never go above his or her head or to the Human Resources department. Set up a meeting with your boss to address this topic. That way you'll know how much time you have and your boss won't be taken by surprise.
Dress for success - on the day of your meeting, dress as you would for a job interview or business conference. You may even want to develop a script to follow. Just keep it flexible. When making your case, don't compare yourself to co-workers -- stick to the field in general. Anticipate any objections the employer might be able to raise and be prepared to justify your cost effectiveness.
Ask for What You Want. When asking for anything in life, you should be certain you know what you want. Otherwise you're leaving the decision up to someone else and you may come out dissatisfied. You can't be shy about asking to be paid what you're worth. Give your boss an estimate of how much your efforts add to the company's bottom line. Ground your proposal on objective criteria.
Create a one pager that includes comparables, and at the bottom, estimate your fair market value in light of those comparables. That will help convince your boss and give your boss something to show to higher-ups to justify giving you a raise. That one-pager will also add to your confidence in the negotiation.
Present Your Outline Of Your Accomplishments. Use as many details as possible, such as numbers and facts. You'll want to take five to seven of your most recent or biggest-impact contributions and present them in a bulleted list. Most bosses are interested in numbers. If you are in marketing, how do the things you do put profit on the bottom line? If you are an administrator, how do you make money for the company, or, how do you save money for the company and how much of that savings drops directly into the profit margin of the organization?
You also want to show how you plan to continue contributing to helping your boss, your department, and your organization in the future.
Stay Positive. Talk about how you are happy in your current job. Focus on what you deserve rather than what you need. Emphasize the benefits of your skills to the company. Don't present your current salary/position as a problem.
Instead of presenting your current salary woes as a problem, present yourself as a solution to a number of the company's current and future challenges. If you begin the conversation with a litany of complaints-you can't support your family on what you're making; you've been working for three years without a significant raise; the cost of living in your area has gone way up your boss will immediately start making assumptions about you and your attitude.
Also, don't offer an ultimatum ("If you don't give me a raise, I'm quitting") unless you truly intend to quit if you don't get a raise.