As Oliver Twist discovered in Dickens' classic novel, asking if you can "have some more" can be a harrowing experience. Even in a good economy, it's not always an easy thing. You don't want to come across as more concerned about money than the organization's welfare. On the other hand, if you think you're due for a raise, then don't be afraid to speak up. It doesn't have to be as stressful an experience as most people make it. Remember that your employer wants to retain good talent -- as well as watch the bottom line. Handled well, the entire process can be enormously beneficial for everyone involved.
Now, before you run off and ask your boss for a $10,000 raise, it's time for a reality check. You'll need to do a bit of research and learn more about how to handle salary negotiations. Because that's essentially what this is -- a negotiation -- and it's an important fact to remember.
First of all, knowing what others in your field and geographic area are getting paid is important. Unless you can back it up with some pretty solid numbers, it's hard to argue you should be getting paid twice what your local colleagues are earning.
Some jobs, like sales, are easier to quantify than others. Salaries are a quintessentially quantifiable thing. To speak your boss' language, you'll need to learn how to look at what you've done for your organization and convert that information into something quantifiable -- something that can more readily be translated into increased earning potential.
Most people are aware of the importance of salary comparisons and performance reviews when negotiating a salary increase. That's just the starting point. We'll explore all of the other factors that your employer will be looking at when considering your request. Knowing what you should or shouldn't bring up can make or break the deal. If your employer is taking you seriously, your request will be examined closely. Make sure you give it the same attention beforehand.
This article will guide your research, give you tips to prepare for the meeting and inspire the confidence you need to give it your best shot.
On the next page, we'll look at how to research comparable salaries.