How to Make the Most of Salary Negotiations

Salary negotiations are notoriously difficult. In fact, many employees forgo negotiating all together and simply accept what’s offered to them. The difficulty often occurs because employees generally don’t know what they should ask for or how to go about asking for it.

Whether you are accepting a new position or simply seeking a raise in your current role, here are some ways to help you make the most of salary negotiations:

1. Know the market.

Research what the average salary is for your position in your industry and be prepared to use this information to negotiate a higher salary. The Bureau of Labor Statistics is a great resource to start with, as are websites likeGlassdoor. Knowing the average salary will help you make sure you are paid your worth.

In addition, pay attention to your industry and specific employer. Are you in a growth phase? Did you just secure a large client? If your employer is doing well financially, this can also help support your case for a raise.

2. Tailor your approach.

Is your boss more perceptive to visual or auditory communication? Does your boss respond more to emails and memos, or a casual conversation? Be sure to present your request in the medium that your boss will be most receptive to.

If you are being offered a new position, you may not know the answer to these questions. In such a situation, a telephone call is usually the best way to go, as you can listen for verbal cues and tailor your approach accordingly.

3. Show your value.

You need to advocate for yourself and make sure you highlight your unique skills and talents.

If you have more relevant experience or education than the average candidate, you should highlight this fact. If you’ve been working for your employer for a while, it is a good idea to take note of the achievements and contributions you have made throughout the year.

Refer to these achievements and contributions to show the value you’ve added when asking for a raise.

4. Present options.

If money is not an option, look at negotiating compensation in-kind. Perhaps you could use more time off, or would like to work from home. There may be other options that will improve your quality of life. Don’t limit your negotiation to you salary alone.

5. Look beyond the here and now.

When negotiating, don’t forget to think about how you may be affected if you leave this role. Many times, it is easier to negotiate a reduction or removal of a non-compete at the outset of employment than when you actually leave.

Photo Credit: 401(K) 2012 via Flickr Creative Commons