Ideally, the best time to get a bigger salary is before you accept the job offer. But if you have been on the job for a while and know you deserve more money, or worse, just found out you make considerably less than the guy next to you doing the same job, don’t get mad. Get even.
And don’t even think about playing the race card or the gender card because realistically, it’s not going to get you what you want. Instead, play your cards right. Know exactly what you want and ask for it. Here’s how:
1. Do your research to determine how much money someone with your skill set can make in your position. Try salary.com or similar web sites for state-specific data. Add a few dollars more to that figure to leave room for negotiation.
2. Be prepared to answer the “What’s in it for me” questions you are guaranteed to get. To start the discussion show evidence of your past accomplishments. But to hit the point home you have to talk about your potential contributions. Remember, we are talking salary here, not bonus.
3. Anticipate objections, because you will get them. Prepare for them and offer options to address them before the boss even mentions them. For example, if you know she will say there’s no money right now, frame your request to coincide with the budget cycle at the time when there is “extra” money to be spent.
4. Be confident, but not cocky. Expect a “yes” to show confidence in your proposal, but tread lightly. Overstating your value, listing demands or making idle threats to leave, are not strategies that work. What you want is someone who agrees with what you have to present, not someone who’s sitting there thinking: “Yeah right.”
Ever found out you were making less than others in your work place who are doing the same job? What did you do about it? If that time is now, how can I help?