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What Not to Do During Salary Negotiations

Topics: Negotiation

You’re about to go in and ask someone for more money. It’s a conversation that hasn’t been easy since you were asking for an increase in your allowance. There are some ways you can make it easier on yourself, simply by avoiding some common pitfalls. After all, how you negotiate a raise could affect your future income for decades to come. Go into that room strong, with these tips.

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(Photo Credit: philhearing/Flickr)

1. Don’t Avoid the Subject

Do You Know What You're Worth?

If you have an agreed-upon salary negotiation time frame, say six months after you’re hired, don’t let that day slip off the calendar. Your boss may flake on the date, or simply hope that kicking the can down the road will: a) lead you to forget about it, or b) ultimately save the company money over the months you’re not earning a higher salary.

Women especially report feeling uncomfortable discussing salary more than their male counterparts. But if you don’t ask, you won’t get that raise!

2. Don’t Forget to Do Your Research

Know your worth! Write down not only what you were hired to do in your daily job life, but what you actually do. Maybe you’ve had a little scope creep over the months or years, and now you’re doing the job of three people. Well, then you should be getting paid for three people, too – or, at least, more than a person who only does one job.

Use PayScale’s Salary Survey to help you compare your current (and potential) salary to others with similar job titles or responsibilities. Be able to bring a written list of all your responsibilities, accomplishments, wins for the company, and your plans for your future there to the negotiating table. You’re a valuable asset! Show them how much you’re worth now and in the future!

3. Don’t Commit to a Salary Range You Don’t Want

It’s tricky, especially when you’re facing your boss and they point-blank ask you how much you’d like to be paid, but don’t sell yourself short. You’ll want to have a number range in mind, but don’t set the low number where you wouldn’t be happy. Bosses, even ones who love your work, are also under pressure to keep costs low in their own budgets, and are likely to head to the lower end of your range. Don’t throw out numbers that would be preposterous for your job, responsibilities, experience, and the market, but also don’t undersell all you’re bringing to the workplace, either. If the lower end of your range isn’t a number you’d be happy with, then don’t even go there.

4. Don’t Forget Other Benefits

Your happiness at your job is worth more than what you get in your bank account. Non-cash benefits can be worth even more for your long-term well-being at work. Think about asking for additional paid time off, sabbatical time, educational reimbursements, and more. What would improve your work life? It might mean having the company pay for you to learn additional skills that would improve your general happiness as well as your value to the company. It’s a win-win!

Want more tips? PayScale’s Salary Negotiation Guide will help you plan a strategy to get the pay you deserve.

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What happened at your last salary negotiation? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

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