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How Your New Salary Negotiation Hero Scored a $30,000 Raise

Topics: Negotiation

In the post-recession economy, most people would count themselves lucky to get a 3 percent annual raise, or make a jump to a new job that gives them a couple of extra thousand dollars a year – even if that bump seems to disappear, once taxes come out. But not Claudia Telles. The 28-year-old quality specialist tells Business Insider that she managed to jump from a $41,000 annual salary to $72,000 – all without leaving her employer.

money from heaven 

(Photo Credit: thethreesisters/Flickr)

How’d she do it?

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1. She was willing to change jobs.

Telles started off working on the business operations team at the Chicago-area hospital where she now works as a quality specialist. Although she doesn’t specify which role, it was a lower paying one than the job she holds now. This willingness to change roles almost certainly helped – and she didn’t even have to leave her employer in order to do it.

Sometimes, you need to change jobs or even careers in order to meet your financial goals. For a story a few years ago, I spoke with a banker who studied sociology and spent the early part of his career working for a human services company, helping people deal with mental illness, substance abuse, and homelessness. When I asked him how he’d come to make such a seemingly abrupt career change, he said, essentially, money.

“The pay was really low (as I knew getting into the field), but I saw how hard it would be to do what I wanted to do in life (family, travel, etc.) if I stayed in the field,” he said.

Some jobs pay more than others. That seems obvious, but for many of us, growing up thinking about which kind of superhero we want to be, it comes as a surprise to graduate, get the dream job we wanted, and then discover that it doesn’t pay enough to finance the rest of the life we’d envisioned for ourselves.

That doesn’t mean giving up on a career you love, but it might mean opening your eyes to other occupations that pay more.

2. She did her research.

Telles stresses the importance of doing your homework before negotiating salary. She researched salary ranges and benefits information before interviewing for her new position, and came to the bargaining table knowing that the salary range for her position topped out at $75,000.

PayScale’s Salary Survey can help you evaluate a job offer by asking you questions about your experience, education, skills, and location and providing a free report with a salary range to target. Then, it’s just a matter of remembering that when you apply for a new job, even at the same company, you’re not necessarily building off the salary at your current position.

Aim for the salary range that a person with similar experience would ask for, if he or she came from an outside company – and keep your salary history private, if at all possible.

3. She changed her mindset.

Telles didn’t just start thinking big; she surrounded herself with other big-thinkers as well.

“Before meeting ambitious professionals, increasing my salary by $5,000 would have made me beyond happy,” she told Business Insider. “Afterwards, asking for a $30,000 salary increase didn’t even seem ridiculous. I have friends and acquaintances that have been able to double or triple their salary, and to me, it’s the ‘new normal.'”

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What’s the biggest raise you ever received? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
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CurmudgeonClaudia TellesTmooreLTD Recent comment authors
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I have to second the comment from LTD. I wonder what has happened to our educational system. A sample of the comments on the site demonstrates a lack of understanding of basic grammar and an inability to spell, among other things. I believe that many new entrants to the work force don’t realize that spending a little time to make certain that their public thoughts are professionally presented really can benefit them in their careers. Just like the first impressions… Read more »


Pay Scale is very helpful for information but I doesn’t help with my current position or company! I’ve been working 8 years in the same postion and very small increases 2.5 or 3%. This is really a slap in the face compared to what my co-workers and those that have been hired after me.
This is so fustrated as well as depressing!
I’ve also worked for the same company for 19 yrs. and just trying to see another way out.

Claudia Telles
Claudia Telles

Thanks for sharing my story. I used Pascale to learn the range of the salary so I would know what to ask.


With regard to the comments on your site: I am appalled by the errors in peoples’ comments. Spelling errors; no commas; incomplete thoughts; no periods. In general, sentences – for the most part – that make no sense or are hard to read. Maybe you should ask people to “proof” their replies before they hit “submit”. This is the third article on your site that I have read and frankly, all of the comments have given me a headache. Thanks… Read more »

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