11 Ways to Negotiate a Killer Raise

Don’t settle for less than you deserve

Even if you know you deserve a raise, it’s not always easy to know what to do to get it. There are certain key things to do in order to show your employer that you’re worth the extra money.

And here’s a tip – asking for it just because you want more money, and not because you have done the work to merit it – won’t do the trick.


LADYLUX talked to brilliant business experts to get their take on how to successfully negotiate that killer raise you deserve.

1. Show them the money. Talk about your leadership roles and accomplishments to tell how you have made a difference. Organize your thoughts using the PAR acronym, or Problem, Action, Results. Quickly illustrate your worth by outlining a problem you dealt with at work, what specific action you took to solve that problem, and how your solution ultimately benefited the organization in terms of saved money or time.

2. Prove that you’re worth it. If your reason is simply that you need more money, this won’t cut it. You need to convince them that the work that you’re done and are capable of doing warrants greater compensation because of its value and your value. Apply your skills and value directly to the company or the boss, and explain precisely what you have done and are able to do. You need to prepare this information ahead of time in order to make your case as strong as possible. Avoid talking about the money as it pertains to you, talk about the money simply as compensation for what you have done and are able to do for them.

3. Be prepared. Start preparing a long time before the salary review is due. The most important thing is to let your manager know of your intention regarding your salary well in advance. This gives her time to enquire about your salary situation, hear your arguments, and prepare herself for making decisions when she allocates her salary increase budget.

4. Be an overachiever. Support this request by being able to demonstrate to your manager that you truly overachieved in the past year, and that you deserve more than the average increase based on the allocated budget.

5. Internal equity matters. You’ve surely heard about educating yourself on pay levels for your job (use, or But for your human resources department, an equally important measure is internal equity. If you can't find internal salary levels, require your manager to work with HR have a look at internal equity and make sure that you're not lagging in terms of pay (especially as a female). If you are, then you are high on the list for an “adjustment” which, combined with your great performance, could lead to a special increase.

6. Tell the company why they benefit. And almost as important, you should able to show a benefit to your boss, the one who probably recommends (or doesn't recommend) the raises. How is giving you more money going to advance the interests of the company and the interests of your boss?

7. Be visible. Over the course of the year, send a short note to your boss at the end of each week, just keeping him or her apprised of everything you did during that week. Come evaluation time the boss may well use those notes to help write the evaluation. And at the very least you'll have all that ammunition when it's time to discuss raises.

8. Choose your timing wisely. Does your company typically hand out raises at the end of the year? Great. Start laying the foundation 3-4 months in advance. Sometimes the company has already allocated the budget for annual raises, so if you wait until your annual review, it may be too late.

9. Have a Plan B. If a raise just isn't in your companies budget, ask for other benefits such as more vacation days, flexible work hours, or remote commuting on Fridays.

10. Get another offer and ask your employer to match it. Only do this if you are willing to switch jobs.

11. Switch jobs. The average raise annually at a company is about 3%, however the average salary boost is 10-20%. Especially during your early years, switching jobs every three to five years can be a great way to maximize your earning potential quickly.

What not to do

Do not play your feminine side, threaten to leave, or cry in front of your manager. These won't get you anywhere, really, and may create discomfort or even resentment in your manager for putting an emotional toll to what is, essentially, a business negotiation.

Don’t be discouraged. Remember, the first offer is just that: a first offer. Come back with a polite counter offer: “I was really thinking in terms of X dollars, boss.” Then you can settle on something between the two.

Don’t forget it’s business

“Business being business, you're not always going to get the raise you want. When that happens, politely and respectfully ask your boss if you can sit down together and determine what specifically you need to do in order to earn the raise in the future. Try to work out deliverables that are as specific as possible and try to pin down a time frame. Take notes, let your
boss see that you're taking notes, and if possible work up something in writing you can both agree to. Ask for his or her help in achieving those deliverables. Then report your progress regularly. Once you've met those specific goals, it will be very difficult for your boss not to grant your raise or at the very least fight for it,” said Barry Maher, speaker, author and consultant.

Sources: Jennifer Lee Magas, vice president, Magas Media Consultants, LLC; Sandrine Bardot, managing director, The Bardot Group; Barry Maher, speaker, author and consultant; and Rachel Ritlop, M. Ed, career and business coach.

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