Professional Development

How to negotiate a higher salary this year

Written by Eric Titner

The work world is full of tricky and challenging situations, and it’s often up to us to rise and meet each obstacle and challenge head-on—which helps us learn valuable lessons and evolve and grow as professionals as we journey across our career paths.

For many of us, the topic of salary negotiation is an especially anxiety-producing one. Despite its importance as a key measure of professional achievement, fulfillment, and success, many of us shy away from engaging in discussions with employers about our compensation unless we’re absolutely required to—and this can have a detrimental effect with lasting consequences. As many employers will happily refrain from offering us a pay bump if not prompted to do so, those of us who avoid negotiating for higher salaries will likely earn less over our careers than our colleagues who are more comfortable and confident with asking for raises. This cycle can have a real and lasting negative impact on your motivation, performance, and overall job and career satisfaction over the long haul.

Hopefully, by now, you realize the importance and benefit of gathering the courage and gumption to enter into salary negotiations with your employer— as long as you go about it the right way. Not all negotiations are created equal, and going about it inefficiently can not only cost you a well-deserved raise, but it could also have the opposite effect and leave you in an adversarial position at work.

Let’s take a closer look at some proven tips for negotiating a higher salary that you can use to your advantage right away.

Choose the right moment

Although you may be eager to get the negotiations started so you can see a bump in your paycheck as soon as possible, it may be wise to take a beat and assess the situation. When getting started to enter into a salary negotiation, it pays to choose your time carefully—after you successfully complete a big project or following a big revenue-generating win for the company are much better choices than right after the company receives bad news or is struggling financially.

Also, gauge the mood of your boss before diving into the salary talk. If you sense they’re having a bad day, do you think that’s the ideal time to ask for more money? We don’t think so either, so it’s best to hold off until they’re in a better, and hopefully generous, mood.

Be professional

The topic of salary negotiating is a highly personal one that can get emotionally charged, especially if it comes following a long period of feeling undervalued and unfairly compensated. It’s in your best interest to check your emotions at the door and enter into negotiations in a calm, measured, and professional manner. Even if things don’t initially go as planned and you don’t get the response you were hoping for, stay cool and collected. Make your case for why you deserve the increase in a confident manner. Letting your emotions take over could lead to a tense and awkward conversation, a heated argument, or worse.

Comprise is crucial

When entering into a salary negotiation, you may have a specific number in mind. We’re here to tell you that it might be more helpful to keep this number as a loose goal rather than setting it in rigid stone. Salary negotiation is similar to any other business negotiation in terms of allowing room for compromise—although each side has a real interest in having the outcome work to their best possible advantage, a good negotiating process includes both sides being flexible enough to meet somewhere in the middle.

If you’re you eager to engage your employer in a raise discussion, use the strategies and advice presented here to help achieve the outcome you’re looking for. Congratulations on taking the first step toward asking for what you’re worth!

About the author

Eric Titner

Eric is a NYC-based editor and writer, with years of experience in career-focused content development across a wide range of industries.