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How to Negotiate a Higher Salary if You're Already Employed

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Asking your employer for a raise may or may not get you more money. It all depends on your approach, your employer’s financial situation and your value to the company. To help increase your chances of getting the increase, demonstrate how the company already benefits from your work and will continue to do so.


Examine your pay compared with others' in the company and industry. For example, if a coworker in a position similar to yours makes more money than you, is it because her credentials are stronger than yours? If the answer is yes, you may not get the raise. However, if your pay is lower than the industry average for someone with comparable skills, your position may be stronger. Your willingness to take on more responsibilities, difficulty replacing you and a good relationship with your boss also helps. If, however, you want more money just to buy a flashier car or home, that’s not a compelling reason to ask for a raise.


Before you approach your boss, do your homework. Use career websites, Facebook and LinkedIn to connect with people in your industry to get an estimate of what employers in your field and area are paying. Also, use salary surveys created by professional organizations in your industry. Compare the data from all of your sources to arrive at the fair market value for your job title and duties. If the company will benefit from you taking on more work, be sure to include that point when calculating your value.


Try to wait until after you’ve done something commendable to approach your boss. For example, if she recently praised you for completing a difficult assignment, use the positive feedback to ask for a meeting to discuss your performance. When presenting request for a raise during the meeting, use the word “we” rather than “I” to show how you and your employer can benefit from the increase. Refrain from discussing what your coworkers are making. Instead, focus on the data from your research and your value to the company. For example, you might say that you enjoy working with the company, but your research has led you to conclude that you’re underpaid. Then ask your boss for her opinion on the matter.


Your boss might refuse your request or offer an amount that’s lower than what you requested. If she feels you don’t deserve more money based on your job performance, ask what you can do improve it. The company might lack the funds to give you a raise or only gives increases at certain times of the year. In these cases, be flexible and compromising rather than demanding and impatient. You might ask for noncash benefits, such as more vacation days, a broader benefits package or greater work flexibility, such as the option to telecommute. Whatever the agreement, get it in writing. If you’re underpaid and see no room for growth, or objectively believe your employer doesn’t sufficiently value you, it might be be time to start looking for employment elsewhere.