When entering into negotiations for a raise there are a few key factors to always keep in mind.

Consider your timing

If a coworker was just laid off or your company is actively surveying suppliers to save money, this is not the time to ask for more money. However, if you’ve just brought in a new client or there are record-breaking profits on an account you’re working on, you might make your request.

At the same time, ignore the calendar. Being at the job exactly one year, or even three long years, doesn’t guarantee you have merited a raise. You must prove more than your ability to patiently take up space.

Be prepared

Make sure you can competently discuss what you have contributed to the company. Form a strong foundation of your desired raise and the justifications for it before the conversation by considering these factors:

  • What have you done to merit a raise (be specific in highlighting accomplishments)?
  • What has changed in your job duties that might suggest more compensation?
  • What education, training or added certifications have you achieved since your salary was first negotiated?

Notice how these questions all address you and what you do. Don’t assume that if a coworker makes more than you that you can go in and just request the same dollar amount.

Leave room for the “negotiation” part of the exchange

While you will typically say a number higher than you will settle for you should have concrete reasons to ask for that sum. There are many salary expectation calculators available online to help determine the average salaries for positions in your region.

Think about the future

Remember, a raise is not a retroactive reward. You are renegotiating an agreed upon contract based on what you promise to bring to the enterprise in the future as well. Be sure to use logic and reason to persuade your boss that you are going to be adding even more value going forward.

Don’t threaten to leave

You should not be making any ultimatums about how you will take your stapler and go home if you don’t get this raise. They may just take you up on your offer. There are some who say this threat is your best leverage. But only take this approach if you really are ready to move on.

Your reasons for asking for a raise should always be based on your merits as an employee. You can’t expect a raise because you are experiencing personal or financial problems. For instance, if you’re having difficulties paying off your student loan, consider refinancing, and find rational reasons for a raise rather than making negotiations personal.

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