No matter where you are in your career, it pays to advocate for as generous a salary as possible. And in today's relatively healthy job market, you have more leeway to fight for an income you feel you deserve. It's not surprising, then, that 69% of job seekers report that they negotiated their salaries within the past year, according to staffing firm Addison Group.
Whether you're in the market for a new job or want to make more money at your current one, it pays to speak up about the salary you want. Here's how.
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1. Know what you're worth
The best way to make a strong case for a specific salary is to collect some data to back up the number you're putting out there. To that end, job sites like Glassdoor have useful tools that allow you to dig up salary data based on factors such as job title and geographic location -- keeping in mind that you'll generally earn more money in a major U.S. city than in a smaller one. The amount of experience you have on the job might also factor into your salary, so keep that in mind, too, and if possible, aim to dig up data that relates to your tenure.
2. Highlight your unique skills and accomplishments
There are certain skills that apply to any job, and skills that make you an appealing candidate for the specific roles you tend to seek. When negotiating salary, be sure to play up both types as much as possible.
For example, if your organization and time-management skills led you to get promoted, call that out. Similarly, if you're in the IT world and are well-versed in a coding or development language most of your peers aren't familiar with, be sure to talk that up. The more you're able to convince your current or prospective employer that you bring unique value to the table, the more money that company is likely to be willing to pay you.
3. Ask at the right time
If you're looking to make more money from your current employer, you'll want to time that request just right. That means not asking for more money on the heels of a failed initiative or following any other sort of negative event that might leave your superiors feeling less than generous. On the other hand, you should ask for more money after completing a major project that you rocked with flying colors or after meeting an important milestone on the job.
If you don't ask, you don't get
Many workers shy away from negotiating salary because they're scared to rub their employers the wrong way, but if you don't make your desired compensation level known, you're apt to lose out. According to job site CareerBuilder, 56% of employees have never asked for a raise, but 66% of those who did have that conversation were successful.
Therefore, don't let a fear of coming off as greedy stop you from snagging the salary you deserve. If you present your case respectfully, there's a good chance you'll get what you want without any backlash.
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