Whether we're starting a new job or pursuing a promotion, we should always be negotiating salary. We should, but we often don't. According to a 2018 poll by global staffing firm Robert Half, only 39 percent of workers tried to negotiate a higher salary during their last job offer. So why do less than half of us attempt to get more money out of our hard work?
Negotiating a raise is an undertaking that scares many job and promotion-seekers—and for good reason. Negotiation is as much of an art as it is a science, and the feat is ripe with potential pitfalls if you don't know what you're doing. These five tips can help you polish your negotiating skills and get you the pay you deserve.
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#1 Know your value
If you're going to get the pay you want, it's crucial that you do your research. Understand what the going rate for your position in your specific industry is and determine the two types of offers you'd accept before walking into your meeting: Your 'slam dunk' offer, which you would immediately say yes to, and your 'bottom level' offer, the minimum amount of money that you would consider taking. Websites like Payscale, Glassdoor, and Salary.com should help you determine these numbers.
#2 Show how you can contribute
Before your meeting, prepare a one-page summary that shows exactly what you've done and what you can do as an employee. Then, when it's time to negotiate, walk through your accomplishments and demonstrate your value to your boss. It's important to highlight times when you've gone above and beyond in your role. Do this before you talk numbers.
#3 Know the exact number
"Around $60,000" won't cut it. Research shows that when employees use a precise number in their initial negotiation request, they're more likely to get a final offer that matches–or is at least close to–what they asked for. If you're aiming for a salary of $55,000, ask for $56,950 instead. Your boss will assume you've done extensive research into your market value.
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#4 Set the meeting for Thursday
Research shows you're more likely to get a raise if you ask for it on a Thursday. We tend to be hardheaded and disagreeable at the beginning of the week, but as the week progresses and "hard-line behavior disappears, we become more flexible and accommodating. Thursdays and Fridays find us most open to negotiation and compromise because we want to finish our work before the week is out," Psychology Today reports.
#5 Don't leave empty-handed
You can negotiate more than just your salary. If you didn't get the final number you wanted, have a sheet ready of alternatives you'd like to discuss, such as a preferred work schedule, external and internal training, and vacation time. Whatever you do, don't leave empty-handed and remember: If the company says it can't meet your salary requirements because of a financial issue on their end, you can still negotiate the previously mentioned items.