4 Strategies for Negotiating the Salary You Deserve

woman negotiating raiseNegotiating can be uncomfortable -- and never more so than when it involves something as sensitive as salary. But as the old saying goes, "You don't ask, you don't get." So, just how do you go about bringing up this challenging but important subject?


Making it even more painful but necessary, as Cameron Huddleston, Life + Money columnist for GOBankingRates.com, points out, is the fact that women are paid less than men in nearly every occupation, making negotiating for more -- or equal! -- pay that much more critical.

"A study by the American Association of University Women found that women working full-time are paid 79 percent of what men are paid. To close that gap, women have to be willing and prepared to ask for higher pay," she says.

And, as you'd imagine, smaller salaries can have far-reaching implications down the road.

"Women lag behind men when it comes to retirement savings, in large part because of the wage gap. But women need to be saving more than men because they tend to live longer and have higher medical costs in retirement," Huddleston explains. "One way to do this is to negotiate a higher salary so you can have more money to set aside for a nest egg. However, studies have found that women are less likely than men to negotiate their salary because they’ve learned from a young age not to promote their own interests."

Wow, doesn't that make you want to just march into your boss's office and demand a raise? Well, before you make an impulsive move you may later regret, Huddleston shares these well-thought-out strategies for negotiating a higher salary.

1. State your case.

To negotiate effectively, Huddleston says, you have to be prepared to state the case that you deserve to be paid more.

"Make a list of your accomplishments and how they’ve helped the company’s bottom line," she advises. "Also include tasks that you’ve taken on that are beyond your job description."

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2. Do your homework.

Trying to decide what's a reasonable request? Find out how much you’re worth by checking sites such as Payscale.com and Salary.com, which allow you to see what others in similar positions are earning, Huddleston suggests.

"Then, schedule a meeting with your supervisor to explain why you should get a pay hike," she says.

3. Be your own PR rep.

When it comes to your career and your salary, you need to be your own advocate. While we're not suggesting you become the office brownnoser, there's nothing wrong with letting your boss know, subtly, all that you do for the team.

"You also can take steps throughout the year to increase your chances of getting a raise or promotion by sending short notes to your boss on a regular basis to keep him or her apprised of your accomplishments," Huddleston recommends. "Your boss might refer to those notes at evaluation time -- and so can you to bolster your case that you deserve a raise or promotion."

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4. Be prepared to move on.

No one likes rejection. If you ask for a raise and you don't get it, you'll want to have a backup plan in place if you feel uncomfortable and undervalued where you are.

"If you’re routinely denied a raise even though you’ve clearly shown your boss that your company has profited from your hard work, then you should consider looking for a new job -- one that will reward you for your talents," Huddleston says.

To paraphrase the movie The Joy Luck Club, know your self-worth and use these strategies to empower yourself to ask for the raise you deserve!


Image via Alexander Raths/Shutterstock

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