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Salary Negotiation Tips
By Ross Macpherson

Few employers will raise your salary out of the kindness of their hearts, and it's just plain naive to assume that if you work hard your boss will notice from afar and reward you accordingly. We all deserve to get paid what we're worth, and honestly the onus is on you to make certain you are suitably compensated.

So what do you do? You have to get into the habit of taking responsibility for your career, your salary, and your overall job satisfaction. It's not treasonous to ask for what you deserve, and if you are consistently performing well or above expectations, it may be time to renegotiate your salary. But it's up to YOU to make the case. Below I've outlined 5 tips to help you negotiate your next raise.

1. Provide Evidence

The worst thing you can do is ask for a raise without some valid reason as to why. It's also naive to assume that your boss knows everything that you've done. So here's what you do:

Keep a performance diary detailing what you've done, what results you got, how your work has benefited the company or helped it achieve its objectives.

If possible, quantify your efforts - how did you make them money, save them money, save them time, and by how much?

Detail special projects or added responsibilities that you've taken on, and the results. Also keep a note of attributes that you display, including willingness to take on new responsibilities, willingness to work overtime, positive attitude in the face of adversity or trouble, etc.

Do research into the going market rate for your expertise. Before meeting with your boss, put together a brief summary and have 2 copies ready (one for you, one for your boss).

2. Consider Timing

Obviously the most logical time for discussing a raise is during your performance review. However, this is not written in stone. Sometimes working outside the schedule can work to your advantage:

If your boss isn't the type to closely monitor your performance on an ongoing basis, then make certain you send him/her an email every so often "updating" them on what you have done/achieved - building your case over time can be very effective Consider booking a time to speak with your boss directly after another of your great successes . . this can be a great time to "introduce" the idea since you've got a bit of leverage. No matter when you chose to meet, be sure to actually schedule a time . . . don't meet in the hall or casually drop the topic over a beer after work.

3. Keep Your Cool

The key to negotiating a raise, like any negotiation, is to present your case objectively and logically. Do not let your emotions enter the discussion:

Never get angry or upset.
Never threaten to sabotage the company, its client relationships, etc.
Never threaten to hold something back performance-wise... even if they eventually give in, your working relationship would be irreparably damaged.
Never threaten to quit unless you've got good cause and you really REALLY mean it.

4. Be Professional and Make Your Case

Once you sit down, go through each point in order, focusing on your contributions to the company. Again, keep your personal reasons out of it . . .your raise should be based on your worth, not your need. Other important points include:

Try not to compare yourself to others, keep the conversation about you.
Be prepared to state a figure (either a dollar amount or a percentage increase) and be able to explain how you came to that figure.

5. Lay the Groundwork for Next Time

Whether you get the raise this time or not, be sure to lay the groundwork for your next meeting and discussion:

Ask your boss what he/she would need to see in order to get a raise NEXT time . . .try to hold them to something specific.
Arrange a date to review your performance 6 months from now.
Tirelessly document your achievements until your next meeting.

Like any negotiation, securing a raise requires some preparation, planning, and finesse on your part. But remember: it's not unreasonable to expect to be paid what you're worth, so build a strong case and make it clear to them how valuable you really are.

Ross Macpherson is the President of Career Quest, a Certified Professional Resume Writer, and a Career Success Coach who has helped thousands of motivated professionals advance their careers. Career Quest is a dedicated career marketing firm specializing in professional resumes, job search coaching, and interview coaching.


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