How To Negotiate Your Salary

By Danielle Wirsansky on January 20, 2019

There are many different reasons why you might one day have to negotiate your salary. Maybe the salary your job is currently playing you is not adequate to your needs any longer. Maybe you feel like it is time for a raise because of the length of time you have worked there or because of your contributions to the company. Maybe you are hoping to start a new job with a new company.

You may be wondering why you need to negotiate your salary though. Perhaps you expect that a company will give you a raise when you deserve it. Perhaps you expect a company to pay you the wage you deserve, right off the bat, no questions asked. But in all honesty, companies do not want to spend money that they do not need to.

So if you have worked for a company for a while but never asked for a raise, why would they think to give you one? You seem to be fine with the salary you are being paid for the present. And when you are new to a company and do not set your expectations with that the wages should be, they are going to aim for the lowest tier of wages they can get away with.

Salary.com conducted a survey that showed that a mere 37% of people always negotiate their salaries—while 18% of people never do. On top of that, 44% of people claim to have never brought up the subject of a raise during their performance reviews at all.

You do not want to be one of these statistics! Stand out from the crowd and stand up for yourself by staying strong and actually making an effort to negotiate your salary. Read on for some tips to help you to negotiate your salary more effectively.

Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels

Be Prepared

One of the best ways to assure yourself victory in negotiating your salary is to be prepared. And look at you, reading this very article! You are already working hard to get yourself prepared for salary negotiation.

The first step of preparing yourself is to get organized. Start at the beginning. Jot down thoughts and questions you may have about your company, your position, your salary, your achievements, anything. From there, you can create an outline of what exactly your raise should be, when you should get it, why you deserve it, and why you deserve it now. Organizing your thoughts will help you to have a clear head when you go into the negotiations and help you to streamline what you are going to say and what your arguments for getting the higher salary will be.

Infographic by Danielle Wirsansky

The next step is to do research and learn more about current salary rates are for your industry and, if you can get the information, for the specific company as well. Glassdoor is a really great resource to help you see what the salary rates are for your industry and, if your company is big enough, what it is at your specific company as well. See if you can get any information about what the salary for someone in your position might be nationally and compare it to your own and see what needs to change.

You can also talk to recruiters—a lot of people might ignore their calls, but if you are savvy, you can talk to them about what the industry standards are so you can have a better idea of what your raise may be. You might not necessarily be looking for a new job, but talking to them can help you negotiate your salary to a point that you do not need to switch jobs. And if you can’t, talking to the recruiters will show you that you do have other options.

All of this research will lead you to a specific point—and to a specific number. This is because asking for a very specific salary will help you be more likely to actually get that salary. For example, asking for $44,750 a year for your salary is more likely to be accepted by a company in a negation then asking for a flat, unspecific number like $45,000.

Researchers at Columbia Business school established that “first-offer recipients make greater counteroffer adjustments to round versus precise offers” as well as that “negotiators who make precise first offers are assumed to be more informed than negotiators who make round first offers and that this perception partially mediates the effect of first-offer precision on recipient adjustments.” This is because “…precise numerical expressions imply a greater level of knowledge than round expressions and are therefore assumed by recipients to be more informative of the true value of the good being negotiated.” More than that, going in with a concrete idea of what you want and what you are willing to accept can be very helpful in helping you to achieve results when negotiating your salary.

Once you know what you want and what you want to say, practice, practice, practice! You know the old adage, “Practice makes perfect!” Nail down what you want to say, how you want to bring up the topic, all those things that will help you to walk away from that negotiation victorious. Practice in the mirror, rehearse scenarios with your friends, anything that you can do to help get you in the mindset of the negotiation.

Finally, make sure that you are truly ready and deserving of this raise. Have you worked at your company for the requisite amount of time (generally at least a year)? Have you exceeded rather than simply only met expectations? Have you had any major achievements or milestones in your career during this period of time with the company? You want most of the answers to these questions to be yes in order to put yourself on the best footing for these salary negotiations.

To be informed is to have power. If you know the salary you should be getting according to industry standards, and your company is not willing to give it to you, then you know there are other companies out there that will.

Be Confident

Another really great tactic to try in your salary negotiations, if you can swing it, is to be confident. Be confident in your approach, in what you are wearing, in what you are saying, and most importantly, in that you deserve a higher salary than you are currently being offered or paid.

First of all, you need to know your value. And really know it, deep down. If you are not confident that you bring value to your position, team, and company, then that is going to shine through during the negotiations. And why would the company acknowledge your value if you do not recognize it yourself?

There is a line from the book The Perks of Being a Wallflower that goes, “We accept the love we think that we deserve.” Now apply this quote to your salary negotiations. Consider the love to be your salary. The love and recognition you get from your company are demonstrated through your salary. So be confident! Stay strong! And accept only the salary that you think you deserve. Believe in your work and contributions to the company. If you were not being productive and aiding the company, you would not be there.

Part of knowing your value is knowing exactly what you deserve too. It is not enough to know that you deserve more—you need to know exactly how much more you deserve. As discussed earlier in this article, you need to have a specific number on hand in order to negotiate. If you do not have a number, then the negotiations might get away from you, which simply will not due.

Many employees make the mistake of offering a range during negotiations. This is not necessarily recommended. There usually is a range in which others in comparable positions in your industry are being paid, and you personally probably have a range in which you are hoping to be paid. But when you offer up a whole range, the company is almost always going to go for the lowest number. They want to pay you as little as possible so that they can still turn a profit. And since it is a number that you put out on the table, it would be a bit of a faux pas to turn around and tell them that their offer, on the low end of the range, is unacceptable. If this salary was not acceptable, then why did you put it on the table?

Asking for a salary in the middle range is where many employees often jump too, but why not have the confidence and assume that you are worthy of the top of the salary range? After all, your employers are most likely going to negotiate down from whatever number you offer, so it can be a powerful move to give the high-end number and negotiate down to the middle of the range if you would be perfectly happy with such a number.

The final step of being confident during salary negotiation is knowing when—and being willing—to walk away when the company will not meet your minimum requests. What is the breaking point, the number so low it will cause you to walk away from the negotiation? If the company is not willing to pay you the salary that you know you deserve, not only from your experience, your actions, and the industry standards, then this may not be a company that deserves you. Keep your head up high. Know your worth. And walk away.

Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels

Supply a Mini-Resume

Another tactic to try during the salary negotiation process is to create something like a mini-resume to hand to your opponent in the negotiation. That way, you can support your argument that you deserve a raise or a higher salary.

It is basically a cheat sheet clearly laying out all of your achievements in the last year—all the awards you may have received, any accomplishments you have made, all the projects you have finished. It shows that you are productive and that not only do you do your work but that you help uphold and maintain the company’s good name. It is proof that you have been an asset to the company.

You can even include testimony in this mini resume. It could be from clients, raving about the service you have provided them or their experience working with you. It could also be testimony from your co-workers, crediting you for an achievement within a group setting. Email testimonies will work too! Including these shows that you are a great teammate that works well with others and that clients are very satisfied working with you.

Do not just hand them the sheet and expect them to peruse it while you talk about other things. Go over it with them point by point, clearly showcasing your achievements and allowing them to ask any questions they may have. Be sure to bring up occasions where you have gone above and beyond the call of duty in your job—and then bring up things you are hoping to do in the future and how you plan to go above and beyond there too. This shows the company that they are not going to give you a raise or meet your salary requirements only for you to become complacent. They are paying you to continue that enthusiasm as you move on to new projects.

By lowballing you during a salary negotiation, they know there is a chance that you could walk away. And if they do that, their customers and clients will be less than pleased. They will be more likely to work with you on your salary when they are faced with the prospect of losing you if they cannot satisfy your requirements.

In the end, whether you get the raise or exactly the salary you wanted, the negotiation process will be a learning experience that will help you. That way, next time, you will be in a stronger place to cinch that dream salary the next time or even increase it. Stay strong and good luck with your salary negotiations!

Danielle Wirsansky graduated from FSU with a BA in Theatre, a BA in Creative Writing with a minor in History, and an MA in Modern European History with a minor in Public History. While a graduate student, she served as the Communications Officer for the History Graduate Student Association and President/Artistic Director of White Mouse Theatre Productions. She studied abroad in London, England for the Spring 2015 semester at FSU's study center for the Playwriting Program and interned for the English National Theatre of Israel in Summer of 2015. Her first musical, City of Light, opened as part of FSU's New Horizons Festival in Spring of 2016. She has also won the MRCE and URCAA Research grants from FSU. In the past, she served as the Marketing Director for the FSU Student Theatre Association, the intern for the Holocaust Education Resource Council, and the research assistant of Prof. Nathan Stoltzfus. She has previously written for Context Florida (Contributing Writer), USA Today College (Contributing Writer), Sheroes of History (Contributing Blogger), No(le)Reservations (Contributing Blogger), Female, Reloaded (Arts/Entertainment Editor) , I Want a Buzz Magazine (intern), Mandarin Newsline (youth arts update columnist), Distink Designs (Guest blogger), whatscheaper.com (associate editor), escapewizard.com (associate editor), Spark TLH (Contributor), the Tallahassee Democrat (contributor), Elan Literary Magazine (Head of Marketing), and the Improviser Newspaper (Opinions Editor). Danielle has been lucky to be writing for Uloop since 2015 and to have served as the FSU Campus Editor since 2015.

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