You don't get what you deserve. You get what you negotiate.
Here's a scary statistic: if you don't negotiate your salary, you could be missing out on $600,000 over the course of your career. But on the positive side, if you learn how to negotiate and do it often, you can make up that difference, and more.
The idea of negotiating might make you want to run in the other direction, but it's much easier than most people think. The hardest part about successfully negotiating is getting the prep work done before you walk in the door. But with this easy, three-step guide, you'll be ready to ask for a raise or negotiate a new job offer in no time.
Step 1: Research
You want to be paid more, but how much more? This can be the most challenging part of negotiating for some people. Knowing how much you should be making means you need to honestly assess your performance as well as figure out your market value. (Your market value = what companies pay for employees just like you.)
Assess Your Performance
If you've been working for a while, take some time to go through past performance reviews and focus on the positive and the negative comments you've received. What makes you stand out from your peers? Where can you improve? And have you taken on extra responsibilities above and beyond your job description?
The more confident you are in your performance, the easier it will be to find a salary that you're comfortable asking for.
The next thing you'll want to do is get some data on what people in a role similar to yours make. You can do this by checking out online salary calculators (try Glassdoor, Payscale, and Linkedin).
You can also ask people who work in the same industry what salary they think is appropriate for someone in your position to earn. Asking for someone's opinion on salary doesn't need to be awkward. You can simply say, "I know you work in digital marketing and know the space really well. For someone with 3 years experience who is doing x, y, and z, do you know what would be an appropriate salary?"
Once you've done this step, you should have a good idea of what you feel comfortable and justified in asking for.
Step 2: Prep
Now that you have your research done and you know what salary you'd like to ask for, it's time to make sure you're ready to have a smooth conversation. Doing this prep work ahead of time will help you walk in confidently prepared to ask for what you want.
Get Your Script
When you walk in to negotiate, you probably won't just sit down and blurt out how much you expect to make. While you don't need to have a long soliloquy ready, you should have a few things prepared.
I like to give a quick intro: "Thanks for meeting with me to talk about my career progression."
Then remind them about a recent accomplishment: "I'm still so excited about how the big pitch for that new client went. It was great to get that glowing feedback from them."
Make the ask: "As I've taken on additional responsibilities, I'd like to discuss a raise. I've done the research and the market value for someone in my role is 10% higher than what I currently make."
Then follow this by making your case. This is where you'll highlight a few of your most notable accomplishments. Maybe you had a great performance review last year, or you took on a huge project and did really well. Articulate these clearly so they are reminded just how much of an asset you really are.
If you're negotiating your starting salary with a new company, you can make the case by reminding them of all your stellar accomplishments that you talked about during the interview. Those accomplishments are the reason they're so excited to hire you.
Practice with a Friend
Now that you know what you're going to say, recruit a friend to help you practice. It may feel silly, but getting this conversation down before you walk in the door to ask for a raise will help everything go smoothly.
Step 3: Ask
Once you've done all of the work above, all that's left to do is ask. This is now the easy part since you know exactly what you want to ask for and what you'll say. Schedule a meeting with your boss and get ready to put your new negotiating skills to work.