How To Negotiate Salary With Your Boss

Salary Surveys


You may wish to earn more money (along with everyone else), but you don’t want to actually have to negotiate salary with your boss. It can be quite stressful and frightening to have to walk up to the boss and ask for more money. While I can’t perform your salary negotiation for you, I can give you advice on how to ask for a pay raise effectively. Preparation takes much of the fear away.

The first thing to do is perform a salary survey. There are a number of Internet sites that have salary data on most jobs. Knowing what other people who perform the same job as you earn can help you determine what you should ask for. Check several sites to compare the various findings. Results may vary so averaging them may be beneficial.

You must be careful to consider your location before assuming that the data from the salary surveys is accurate for you. Some areas of the country have radically inflated salaries due to high cost of living. Other areas pay more modestly. Don’t expect the outlandish New York paycheck if you live in rural Montana.

Also bear in mind that some of these sites use data from companies that are very large. A company of 50,000 employees often has greater resources and can afford to pay much more than a company of 10 employees. Smaller companies often make up for the smaller salary by offering other benefits. Be sure to take these into account.

Consider Your Experience

Be realistic. A new manager, accountant, clerk, cook, or whatever will generally only earn the minimum salary range. After a year (or two or three), when you really have some experience and feel like you are more valuable to the company – then think about what that is worth in relation to the salary surveys.

Remember that experience itself is not worth anything. Anyone can coast along in a job without ever really learning much or performing exceptionally. Anyone can manage to not get fired for several years. Should that garner a raise?

You have to think in terms of the company. Contrary to what many people think, Management is usually not out to cheat the employees. It is quite counter-productive. However, you do have to prove to Management that you are worth what you think your are worth. Managers rarely throw money at someone just for the heck of it.

Discuss Worth – Not Need

Telling your boss how much you need the money to pay the rent, or for the kid’s braces, or any other personal crisis is NOT the way to go. Businesses don’t pay based on who needs money the most. They pay based on what value you provide to the company. Focus on your VALUE. What have you learned? Why are you better than you used to be?

Highlight Past Accomplishments

Prepare a document that is very similar to a resume. You want to list all the things that you have done, improved, implemented for the company during your time there. Managers often forget over the course of time what each and every employee has done. Listing these things out for them will serve to remind them just how valuable you are.

Highlight Future Responsibilities

Discuss the things that you believe you can do to help the company to become more profitable in the future. If you are asking for a promotion, think of what you would do in the new position. If you are only asking for more money, think of things that you can do to make your job (or someone else’s) more efficient. Always focus on the profitability of the company.

Flexibility in Negotiation


Being a hard-ass is only good in the military. Negotiation is all about give and take. You may not get what you want. Be prepared for that. If so, ask what it would take to earn what you failed to get. If there are certain criteria that you just failed to meet, perhaps you can remedy the situation and set up another meeting in 6 months to review your performance and re-consider the pay increase.

If you are prepared, the dilemma of how to negotiate with your boss becomes much less stressful and much more likely to be successful.

Good luck!

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