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The Art of Salary Negotiation

For many people, salary negotiations can be uncomfortable and awkward, however there may come a time when the work you are doing is not reflected in your compensation or when you are considering an opportunity that requires the art of negotiating compensation. If you’re in this situation, it’s important to build a case for your desired outcome. Here are some tips to prepare for your meeting so you can go in confident, self-assured and empowered.

Get your facts straight
Asking for something because you think you deserve it is not a strong argument. When building a case it’s important to gather evidence and facts that support the argument. You need to do your research and gain an understanding of how the market values your role and responsibilities. There are all kinds of resources available to assist with this. Salary.com, CareerBuilder and Salary Guides generated by agencies specializing in your area of expertise can all be solid resources. Take in to account the hours you’re working as well as perks you may be getting that others in similar positions don’t get. For instance, flexibility to work from home, a car allowance, an abundance of PTO, stellar long term incentives, or 100% paid health insurance. Companies factor many things in to the overall compensation so be sure you factor those things as well. Be prepared for some push back and have some flexibility. Instead of having a specific number, present a range of compensation in the market that reflects some companies having a more aggressive bonus structure, LTI’s or the other things I mentioned. That way if your company doesn’t offer those things you can negotiate toward the top of the range and if they do you can feel satisfied being toward the lower end.

What happens if you hear “no”
First, don’t take the rejection personally and don’t complain. Hopefully, if you’ve laid out a well thought through presentation to justify your request they will do the same if that request is declined. Maybe they will agree to doing other things to offset your request. Regardless, if there is anything discussed as an alternate option get it in writing. If the request is denied for reasons you don’t agree with or simply “because they don’t think it’s necessary” then ask for guidance on what you should or can do to best position yourself for a raise in the near future. Request a timeline so proper expectations are set and then be sure that too is confirmed in writing via email or something more formal.

What happens if you get a “yes”
Convey your appreciation for the consideration you’ve been given and reiterate your commitment and enthusiasm about your role within the company. Again, be sure the details are solidified with an offer letter or a follow up email stating what was specifically agreed to. Now is the time to prove to your manager that they made the right decision and show that you are worth investing in.

Negotiating a better salary can be tough but hopefully these tactics will make it easier to help you get the pay you feel you deserve. You want to strike the right balance of confidence without coming off as arrogant or greedy. My final advice is to view salary negotiations as a win-win. You will be starting a new chapter in your career with a higher compensation and your employer gets a more dedicated and empowered employee.