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How to Negotiate Your Salary and When to Ask for a Raise

Aha Moment: Always be assessing your performance so you’re ready to negotiate your salary.

The new year is an excellent time to take stock of where you are professionally, as well as where you’d like to be.

It’s a process that you probably don’t spend enough time on in the busyness of your everyday work life.

But, it’s an important component of your future and making then next move to advance your career.

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Often, this assessment of yourself and your work will relate to the salary that you’re receiving and the possibility of adjusting it.

Let’s take a look at how and when you should have this conversation with your superiors.

How to negotiate a raise

Most of the time, your salary will come up during your annual performance review.

This is okay, but you really want to broach the idea of having a separate conversation.

Here’s what that conversation should include.

1. Highlight your pattern of success.

When you go to a bank to secure a mortgage loan, do they ask you for just one week’s worth of income information?

No, they want a broader view of your financial situation from a bigger span of time.

Think of your performance review in the same way.

Don’t just focus on what you’re currently doing, but bring in the past three years’ worth of reviews to highlight the consistency of your work.

The idea is for your performance assessment to lead to a raise.

You’re in a better position to ask for an increase in salary when you can bring your whole body of work to the table.

2. Talk about your projected salary trajectory.

Talk with your supervisor about what the next three years will hold for you in terms of salary.

Show up with data to reinforce your position.

For example, you can say something like, “My performance has been consistent and I’m a top performer, yet I’ve only been receiving 1-2% raises. The industry standard for top performers is to receive double that.”

Online tools can help you figure out if what you’re being compensated is in line with what others in your position, within the same market are earning.

Salary.com has a tool, as does LinkedIn.

When you’re well-informed, you give yourself a platform from which to negotiate.

Be sure to discuss your broader career goals. Consider coming to the table with answers to questions like these:

  • What next level roles are you in line for?
  • What skills do you bring that will be valuable to the company in the years ahead?

Make a list of future performance milestones that you and your boss agree will put you in line for significant increases in salary as you deliver more value to the company

When to ask for a raise

Timing is an important factor when you’re requesting an increase in salary.

Here are some guidelines as to when it’s the right time to talk raises.

1. Before the new fiscal year begins

Some companies’ year runs from June to June, while others’ fiscal year may line up with the calendar year.

Figure out how your workplace does it and then schedule your meeting wisely.

Prior to the beginning of a new fiscal year is the time that budgets are set and monies are allocated for the following year.

2. Beginning of a new calendar year

Assess your current performance, as well as your last review in terms of your salary.

Have a conversation with your manager about what room there is for salary increases based on your track record.

Find out your eligibility for a raise within the next eight months.

3. Performance review time

Use your pattern of performance over the years to set yourself up for a separate conversation about a raise.

Ask for a meeting to discuss a salary increase based on your positive reviews over your tenure at the job, as well as the milestones that you have hit along the way.

Remember, a discussion about a raise is often filled with emotion. When you can base the request on data and facts, it removes that emotion.

Of course, if you find that your own assessment isn’t in line with what your superiors think of your performance, it’s not a good idea to bring up the subject of a raise.

Spend time making sure you have a positive historical pattern of quality performance ratings before you ask for a raise.

The bottom line

Your desire is to continue moving forward in your career  –  and your salary should stay in line with your upward movement.

Knowing the right time to ask for a raise and how to ask are important factors in reaching your monetary goals.

As you continually assess your performance, you’ll have a clear understanding of what you’re worth in terms of compensation.

Use your performance review to broach the subject of a separate salary review in which you can bring your whole body of work to the bargaining table.

Have you successfully negotiated for a raise in the past?

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