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by Jeriann Watkins Ireland | July 23, 2018


dollar sign

Whether you’re negotiating your incoming salary for a new job or asking for a raise in your current position, here are some points you’ll want to address in order to have a professional conversation regarding your salary. 

1. Know the Typical Wage for Your Position and Field 

The first step to justifying your request for higher pay is to compare it to what other people in your field and position are making. If you’re making significantly less, you have an easy opening. If you’re making about standard, you’ll want to go to the next section. When you start your research, you might also find tips for negotiating in your specific field, like this article for nurses to negotiate their salary. Articles like this can provide some great industry insight and context to add to your case. There are also salary negotiation scripts that are appropriate for any role.

2. Analyze What You Bring to the Table 

When requesting a raise or a higher starting salary, it’s always a good idea to make a list of the value you bring to the company. Make sure your daily duties match your job description. If you’re doing more than your job description states, that’s a great opening to ask for a raise. Finding that your duties fit a different position than your title also makes a great argument. For example, if you’re an “administrative assistant” but actually doing the job of an assistant manager in your field, you can compare your job duties to job descriptions and salaries from other companies. This will give you the facts you need to backup your request. 

Once you’ve taken a job, you might find out that the salary you agreed on is not appropriate. In this case, look at these tips for when you’ve lowballed yourself in negotiations. At the end of the day, the more details you can give about the financial, skill-based, or customer-benefitting value you bring to the company, the better chance you have at convincing your superior that you deserve a raise. 

3. Be Willing to Discuss Beyond Salary 

In some cases, your boss may agree that you deserve a raise but is unable to offer you one. This may be due to company policy or financials. Ideally, this situation will result in a timeline for when you can expect to receive a raise, but you don’t have to settle for just that. See if you can negotiate for other benefits or perks. Perhaps your PTO accrual rate could be adjusted, or the company could increase their match to your 401(k). These types of incentives can be easier for companies to allow even during financially difficult times because they exist in a separate part of a company’s budget and have different tax ramifications. 

4. Make a Timeline for Negotiations 

Never go into a salary negotiation expecting an immediate answer. Ideally, your manager was expecting a discussion about your compensation, but either way, they’ll likely need to get any salary changes approved. Make it clear you’re willing to go through the proper channels and discuss next steps on both of your parts. Schedule a meeting to touch base about the topic. This will show you’re serious and on top of the situation while understanding the realities of how company finances work. 

5. Discuss Long-Term Plans 

Whether your salary increase is approved or not, you should discuss your long-term plans both inside and outside the company. Talking about your life goals and where you see yourself in the future can help your manager see where you’re coming from. Discussing your plans within the company will show them that you’re committed and willing to be a part of the company’s future. This will incentivize them to find the best way to keep both you and the company happy in terms of job duties and compensation. 

This piece is part three in a series on business etiquette. See part one on how to contact an employer for the first time and part two on tips for communication during interviews.