If you’re doing a great job in your current position or you’re looking for a new job, you may be thinking about negotiating a raise. Afterall, you’re worth it! You work hard, you’re a team player, and you not only get the job done, you excel at it.
But asking for a raise can be a touchy subject with employers and if you don’t approach it the right way, you can kiss your bigger paycheck goodbye.
Mistakes to Avoid when seeking a raise
Not Doing Your Homework
You need to have a plan when asking for a raise. You need to know not only that you want it and deserve it, but that it’s in the best interest of your company.
Start your homework by making a list of your accomplishments, the times you’ve excelled at your job, and how that has benefitted the company. Then, research similar jobs in your field; how much are other employers paying?
Lastly, know your company. You may need a raise so you can buy a bigger house, but your company doesn’t care about that. Why do you deserve a raise? How will paying you more money benefit them? Do you have a high customer service rating? Do you close more sales than anyone else? It’s important to know this before starting negotiations.
Springing the Conversation on Your Boss
When speaking to your boss, open the conversation slowly, never spring the salary discussion on them. A negotiation is an ongoing conversation. Let your boss know that you’d like to talk to them about your salary and schedule an appointment. This is respectful of their time and will also allow them time to do their own research. If you have a performance review coming up soon, hold your discussion until that time.
Seeing Your Salary as the Only Negotiable Option
While your salary is the probably the thing you want to negotiate the most, your company may not be able to meet your desires. However, they may be willing to negotiate other things to compensate for the difference, like additional vacation time or the option to work from home more often. They may be willing to reimburse you for courses you want to take or cover work-related expenses like cellphone bills or tolls for your commute.
Be open to other options, you may find that you’re happier with the result than you expected to be.
Giving an Ultimatum
When your efforts to negotiate a raise fail, it can be tempting to walk away. But this could end up hurting you. If you already have a job and threaten to leave, they may just wish you well. If you bluff about the new job, you could find yourself without any job. And if you’re negotiating for a new job, they may decide to pull their offer, again, leaving you without a job.
Issuing an ultimatum can be dangerous for you and burn bridges that you may not want to burn. Instead, try to compromise. Maybe your company can’t offer you a raise now, but be willing to reconsider in a few months based on your performance. Holding on to your current job comes with things you won’t have at a new job like seniority, earned vacation time, and possibly health insurance or 401k contributions. Step back and take a look at the big picture.
Negotiating a raise can be a great opportunity to pat yourself on the back and show your company how much you’re really worth, but be sure to approach it the right way or it could end up costing you.