How To Negotiate Your Salary and Ask For a Raise
Master salary negotiation and raise requests with this guide. Get tips on timing, your pitch, objections, and follow-up for the pay you deserve.
Know Your Worth
Before asking for a raise, do your research to understand what you’re worth. There are several ways to benchmark typical salaries:
- Look at salary data on sites like Glassdoor, PayScale, Salary.com, or LinkedIn to see the average pay range for your exact job title, experience level, and location. This gives you a solid data point to reference.
- Check company review sites to see if employees have shared salary details. You may find ranges or actual figures.
- Search job listings to see what salary your current skills, credentials, and years of experience could command on the open market right now.
- Ask trusted friends, mentors, or colleagues in similar roles privately what they earn. This gives you real examples in your network.
- Consider using a salary negotiation coach. They can assess your specific situation and provide personalized advice on fair pay.
The key is gathering multiple data points from credible sources, not just one. Contextualize your research findings based on factors like your performance, education, certifications, and overall value brought to the company. Know your worth before making any requests.
Time it Right
Carefully considering when to ask for a raise is crucial for getting the outcome you want. Take into account factors like the company’s current financial situation, your recent performance, the status of important projects, and the cycle of compensation adjustments.
Some optimal times to negotiate a raise include:
- After completing a major project, landing a big client, or some other significant accomplishment that had a tangible impact on the company. Strike while the iron is hot to maximize the impression of your contributions.
- During your performance review, when your manager is already focused on evaluating your work and contributions over the past year. Come prepared with data underscoring your value.
- When you have another job offer in hand and are prepared to leave if you don’t get the salary you want. Use hard numbers to demonstrate your market value.
- When the company is doing well financially and can more readily afford employee salary increases. Make the case for sharing the success.
- When taking on new, higher-value responsibilities. Frame the discussion around being properly compensated for the increased workload and expectations.
Avoid asking during times of hardship or restructuring at the company, as well as right before major product launches or events when budgets may be tight. Optimal timing demonstrates business acumen and professionalism.
Make a Game Plan
Before you sit down to negotiate your salary or ask for a raise, it’s important to create a game plan. This involves deciding on the salary or raise amount you want to ask for, preparing arguments to justify that amount, and considering possible compromises you’d be willing to make.
First, do your research to determine the fair market value for your role and experience level. Look at salary data on sites like Glassdoor, Payscale, Indeed, or Salary.com to get a sense of the typical pay range. Take into account your location, company size, qualifications, and performance. Come up with a reasonable salary target based on this data.
Next, make a list of compelling arguments to justify the salary you’re requesting. For example, highlight your achievements, projects you’ve spearheaded, positive feedback or praise you’ve received, new skills you’ve developed, processes you’ve improved, goals you’ve met, etc. Quantify your accomplishments with metrics. Emphasize how you’ve added value to the company.
Consider crafting a professional pitch or proposal summarizing why you deserve this salary. Include key points on your performance, expertise, impact, and value. Make sure to focus on the positive – don’t complain or seem entitled.
Also, prepare for potential objections or counteroffers from your manager. Think through reasonable compromises you’d be willing to make, such as a smaller raise now with a re-evaluation in 6 months. Decide on the bottom line number that you need to accept.
Going into a negotiation with a well-thought-out game plan will help you feel confident, professional, and ready to articulate your value. With preparation and practice, you can have a productive conversation and hopefully come to a mutually agreeable salary outcome.
Have the Conversation
Schedule a meeting with your manager to discuss your salary increase or promotion. Try to make it an in-person meeting if possible. Let your manager know in advance what the meeting is about so they can be prepared.
When it’s time for the meeting, start by highlighting your achievements, responsibilities, and the value you bring to the company. Provide concrete examples of major contributions you have made over the past year. Quantify your accomplishments with data when possible. For example, you could say “I led the team that increased sales by 15% this year” or “I implemented a new system that reduced errors by 30%.”
Discuss the research you’ve done about typical salaries for your role and experience level. Point out that based on your performance and expertise, you are deserving of higher compensation. Make sure the conversation is professional and positive. Avoid complaining or making demands.
Listen attentively as your manager responds. Be prepared to have a back-and-forth discussion and negotiate on the spot. Express your enthusiasm for taking on more responsibilities in return for higher pay. Share your future goals with the company and convey your commitment to continued success.
Make Your Case
When negotiating a raise, you must make a compelling case for why you deserve higher compensation. Don’t assume your employer automatically knows the value you bring. You need to explain it directly. Come armed with clear evidence and metrics that demonstrate the impact of your work.
Quantify your accomplishments as much as possible. For example, highlight increased sales or revenue generated, products or features launched, projects completed ahead of schedule, new processes implemented, productivity or efficiency gains, costs reduced, etc. Put concrete numbers around your contributions.
Discuss any new skills you’ve developed, responsibilities you’ve taken on, contributions to team or company success, and ways you’ve gone above and beyond your core job duties. Provide examples that illustrate your strengths, achievements, and unique value.
Reference any glowing feedback, praise, or recognition you’ve received from colleagues, clients, or managers. Note if you’ve been promoted or if your role has expanded since your last raise.
You can also do market research on typical salary ranges for your position and experience level. If you are below the market rate, point that out and demonstrate that your skills and qualifications warrant a higher salary more in line with industry averages.
Stay positive and focus on building your case around facts. Avoid ultimatums about quitting or comparing yourself to other employees. Be confident but reasonable in stating the compensation you deserve based on everything you bring to the table.
Listen and Negotiate
Start by letting your manager speak first in response to your ask. Listen carefully and try to understand their perspective. There may be factors influencing their decision that you’re unaware of, like budget constraints or compensation policies.
Hearing your manager out fully demonstrates your respect, shows you’re reasonable, and prevents misunderstandings. Don’t get defensive if they counter with a lower offer. Wait until they finish explaining before responding.
Once you’ve heard them out, clarify any points you need to. Then, look for the middle ground that satisfies both sides. Rather than insisting on your original request, propose solutions and compromises. For example, if the timing is an issue due to budgets, suggest a smaller raise now with a re-evaluation in 6 months. Or if the number is too high for them, provide research showing competitive salaries at other companies.
Look for creative ways to bridge the gap by highlighting your increased responsibilities, contributions, special projects, or areas you’re excelling. The goal is finding common ground, not winning outright. Negotiating requires give and take, so stay flexible while advocating your value. With patience and mutual understanding, you can land on an agreement you’re both comfortable with.
Get it in Writing
Once you have verbally agreed on a new salary with your manager, it’s important to get it formalized in writing. This ensures there is documentation of the salary increase and prevents any potential miscommunications down the line.
Send a follow-up email to your manager recapping the details of your conversation. Be sure to thank them again for their time and consideration. In the email, include the specifics of your new compensation package that you agreed upon – the new salary amount, effective start date, any changes to benefits, etc.
If your company has a standard process for submitting salary change paperwork, follow that protocol. There may be certain forms that need to be filled out by HR or management.
You’ll also want to follow up if you don’t receive written documentation after a reasonable period (usually 1-2 weeks). Don’t let it fall through the cracks – you worked hard to negotiate this raise, so make sure it goes into effect properly. A polite email checking on the status is appropriate.
Once the increased salary is formalized in writing, you’ll have the peace of mind that your hard work has paid off. Having documentation is crucial to ensure you get properly compensated going forward.
After you’ve come to an agreement on your new salary or raise, it’s important to express gratitude to your manager for considering your request. A simple “thank you” goes a long way in maintaining a positive relationship. Consider sending a follow-up email, or even a handwritten note, to show your appreciation.
“Dear [Manager’s Name],
I wanted to send you this quick note to say thank you again for taking the time to discuss my salary request today. I sincerely appreciate your considering my contributions to the team and company. I’m excited to continue growing in my role and achieving great results for the department. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to support your needs and priorities as my manager. I look forward to our continued partnership.
Expressing thanks demonstrates professionalism and grace, and that you value your manager’s time and consideration. It leaves the interaction on a positive note and paves the way for future conversations about career growth and advancement opportunities. The key is to be sincere and specific with your gratitude. Avoid generic platitudes – make it personal and heartfelt. With the rise secured, it’s now time to keep performing excellently.
Continue to Excel
Getting a raise is just the first step. To prove to yourself and your employer that you deserve it, you need to continue achieving great results at your new salary level.
Set some new performance goals and metrics for yourself that align with why your boss gave you the raise in the first place. For example, if you got a raise for bringing in new clients, aim to exceed your client acquisition targets. If it was for product launches, focus on releasing innovative products ahead of schedule.
Keep up your hard work and continue to add value. Look for new ways to contribute, take on extra projects, collaborate effectively with colleagues, work efficiently, and solve problems. Go above and beyond your formal job duties.
When review time comes around again, your boss will see that the raise was money well spent. You’ve successfully expanded the scope of your role and demonstrated that you provide even more value at a higher salary. This will position you for continued career growth, advancement, and compensation increases in the future.
The key is to not get complacent or comfortable. Use the raise as motivation to achieve and excel at an even higher level in your role.
Request Future Raises
Don’t stop at negotiating your initial salary or asking for a raise. Consider a salary increase every year or when you reach certain milestones. The more frequently you ask, the more you normalize the conversation, reducing any awkwardness or fear.
Many companies expect employees to inquire about raises regularly. View it as part of your growth plan and professional development. But don’t make demands or threats if raises don’t happen as quickly as you like. Simply make your case with composure and accept the outcome gracefully.
Continue to pursue opportunities for advancement within your company. Inquire about training that can augment your skills. Seek expanded roles and responsibilities. The more value you provide, the easier it becomes to argue for salary increases. And if growth opportunities are limited, consider looking for another organization more committed to your development and success.
Ask for feedback during annual reviews about specific things you can do to boost your salary to the next level. Use that input to show measurable growth when making future requests. With patience and persistence, your earning potential will expand significantly throughout your career.