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How to Negotiate a Raise

Everyone has career goals. These can range from salary increases to getting a much-deserved promotion to starting your own business. As BIPOC professionals, we often face barriers to achieving these goals such as biased perceptions to our upbringing. Today, I want to focus on the first of these and provide you with five simple steps to ace your next salary negotiation.

Determine your target salary

The first step you need to take to ace your next salary negotiation is to come up with your targeted salary increase. Simply asking your boss or Human Resources department for a blanket raise may sometimes work, but you could also walk away disappointed. For example, if you were looking for a 5% raise and they assumed you would be happy with a 2% cost of living adjustment, there’s a mismatch.

So before you ask for a raise, know how much you’re hoping to get first.

Compare your goal with others in your stage of career

Next, you’ll want to confirm that the salary increase you’re after is reasonable and reflective of others who are also in your position and with the same level of experience. Let’s look at each of these individually:

  • Is the salary increase request reasonable? If you have ten years of experience and are still making entry-level wages, it’s not unreasonable to ask for a sizable increase.

  • Is it reflective of others in your position? If other firms in the area pay twice what you’re making for the same position, absolutely it is time for a salary negotiation. If you’re making more than your peers elsewhere, you may want to reconsider the percentage you’re asking for.

  • Is it reflective of your experience? Your tenure as well as your marketability is crucial here. If you’ve been with your employer for a long time, but other firms are trying to recruit you, it means you have some bargaining power.

As always, use online resources such as Glassdoor and LinkedIn to get a feel for some of these answers.

Document your achievements and successes

Do you have a portfolio? If not, start one today. Keep records of how you add to the team.

Did you contribute to the bottom line through operational improvements? Document that! Did you close several new, highly lucrative deals? Record the results.

I’ll use a basic math example to show why this matters. Let’s say you improved the company’s bottom line by 15%. If your company’s profit was $1,000,000 a year, your efforts helped make it $1,150,000!

And remember, if your salary is $50,000, a 5% raise is $2,500. The company is still making more than they were making, but they’ve now rewarded you for helping them.

Set up a meeting and present your case clearly

Once you have your goals outlined and your contributions, it’s now time to ask for a meeting with the decision-maker. Be sure to respect the chain of command though. If this kind of meeting should be with your immediate supervisor, don’t go around them.

Use data and concrete numbers to explain what you’re asking for and why it’s justified. I recommend using photos or graphics that summarize your request and that your supervisor (or the decision-maker) can easily digest and refer back to when making their decision.

Follow up with them

I want you to remember this tip most of all: this is a proactive negotiation. While there is a balance between the date of your meeting and when you follow up, the point I want you to walk away with is that if a week or two passes and you haven’t heard anything — follow up. Find out where things lie at the moment, if your raise has been approved, or if it was denied.

And here’s the thing: don’t stop if the answer is “No.” No may simply mean not right now. Depending on your employer’s stance, there may be additional benchmarks to hit or it could just be a case of bad timing. Even if the answer is no, find out what steps you can take to ensure that the negotiation is a resounding “YES!”

It’s time to ace your next salary negotiation!

When I work with my clients, I walk them through these five steps so that they can ace their next salary negotiation. Often, I help them determine an appropriate salary target, document how they’ve made an impact for their employer, and how to both approach and follow up with the decision-maker.

A great resource I recommend they and others always check out is my Salary and Promotion Negotiation guide! This free resource will go deeper and provide you with real tips on how to successfully negotiate your next promotion or salary raise.

Ready to get started? Click HERE and fill out my short form. I’ll send you the free guide right away!


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