As the end of the year approaches, maybe you’re starting to brainstorm a list of resolutions. Often, our goals this time of year focus on changing our routines, whether it’s getting to the gym more frequently or getting to bed earlier (and most of the time, we succeed for the first few weeks in January, and then revert back to old habits). If you want to focus on something more concrete - and on something that has the potential to benefit you well beyond the first month of the year - it’s a good time to think about negotiating your salary, especially if your company does year-end reviews.
It’s easier said than done, but asking for a raise is worth it, particularly if you feel like you’ve taken on new responsibilities without being compensated or recognized. In addition to the immediate and obvious financial upsides, earning more will up your sense of self-worth, which in turn can better your productivity and motivation. So muster up some courage, and if you follow these tips, you’ll be more confident when you advocate for yourself.
- Track your success and outline it. Trace your path from day one at your company to where you are today. Have you already been promoted? If so, be prepared to discuss why you’ve been moving upward, and think about how you’ve grown in your new role. If you’re still in your first position, make sure you can talk about what you’ve accomplished and brought to the table since getting hired. Maybe you’ve gone beyond what’s expected of you, putting in extra hours or executing a game-changing project. Have a clear sense of what, specifically, you want to highlight about your efforts.
- Consider the evidence. If you believe you deserve more money, think about who else might agree. Have your colleagues or clients sent you emails with positive feedback? Have you surpassed your goals? Make sure you can point to specific comments or numbers that indicate you’ve been performing well.
- Know how much you’re worth. Do your research to see what the salary range is for your position across different companies, as well as how salaries compare within your company, if possible. Have a number in mind that’s ambitious yet reasonable. Aim high (as you will likely be met with something lower) - but don’t go for a bump that you think is completely out of reach.
- Practice before your meeting. Talking about money, especially when you’re advocating for yourself, is always somewhat uncomfortable. So do what you can in advance to mitigate the awkwardness. Have a plan for what you want to say and how you want to say it. And remember that your tone and disposition can make all the difference. There’s a fine line between confidence and cockiness, so think about how you can sound sure of yourself without coming off as presumptuous.
- Schedule a meeting (and be strategic about it). This is not a conversation you want to have out of the blue, so don’t rush it. If you bombard your boss unexpectedly, your request is less likely to be well-received. Try to find a time when the mood in your office is relatively calm; if there’s an intense deadline looming, you’re better off waiting until everyone is under less pressure.
- If you don’t get what you want, be patient yet proactive. Anticipate that you may not get the paycheck you’re hoping for, and have a plan in place for how to react. It’s OK to be disappointed, but don’t be aggressive, as you’ll likely be going back to the same person with the same request in the future. If you think your boss is being completely unfair, remain calm and diplomatic, and ask for an explanation or constructive feedback. Make sure you find out what it would take to get the number you want - and if you believe you deserve it already, you’ll have a good idea of how to prove that.
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