Why You Should Negotiate for a Raise

3 min read
August 26, 2015

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If I told you there was an easy way to earn $500,000 for about 10 minutes of work, would you take it? Sounds like a scam, right?

Almost 20 percent of workers don’t negotiate for a raise. Some studies say those people leave almost half a million dollars on the table - all during one conversation that could take just 10 minutes of your time during a work day.

Why don't people negotiate? Some fear that it will make them look greedy. Others assume the company is being fair and offering as much as they can afford. Most think negotiating requires some special skills that they don’t have.

While there's no absolute guarantee that you'll get more when you negotiate for a raise, anyone can make the investment of time and effort -- and doing this can offer one of the best ROIs out there. Here's what you need to know before asking for more pay at work.

Be Prepared

You can’t just pick for a dollar amount randomly and expect to get a positive response. You have to show that you’re not looking for more money because you bought a house you can’t afford or another personal reason.

A raise should always be tied to your performance, your value, and other professional factors. Show that you know what you’re worth and you’ve done the research to prove it. 

Look on websites like Glassdoor.com to see what the average person in your position would make and take into account what the company’s other benefits are. Be prepared to make the case about the responsibility you have and how much value you can provide to the company.

If they say no to more money, remember that negotiating doesn't begin and end with financial compensation. There are other benefits you may be able to discuss. (And remember, there may be good reason why more money isn't an option -- companies have budgets, too, or your supervisor may not have the authority to make the ultimate decision.)

Ask if you can get more paid time off or the flexibility to work from home some days. Some companies may be more amenable to those benefits because they don’t cost them money directly.

Show Confidence When You Negotiate for a Raise

When you get ready to negotiate, you have to prepare yourself. Stand up straight and look up tips on negotiating and body language. You’ll feel more confident, and more certain that you deserve what you’re asking for. 

If you come into negotiation proceedings looking scared, your employer will sense that. They’ll wonder why you’re so uncertain. Is it because you know you’re not worth the extra money?

Ask your friends and family members about their own experiences with negotiating. If you have a mentor in the industry that you can trust, take them out to coffee and get their take on your proposal. Having someone with experience back you up will only add to your confidence level.

You Can Earn What You're Worth

Learning to negotiate for a raise is one of the most important skills you can have. It’s the most efficient way to increase your income. After you do it once, you’ll be accustomed to doing it again. Employers are used to people negotiating, and they won’t think you’re strange or entitled for expecting more if you come prepared with evidence of the value you add and why you deserve higher pay.

No matter what happens in the negotiating process, the act of doing it will raise your confidence, make you feel more valued and teach you an important skill.


ZinaKumok-28About the Author: Zina Kumok writes about paying off $28,000 worth of student loans in three years at Debt Free After Three. She has been featured in DailyWorth, LifeHacker and Time. In her free time, she loves to play with her dog Lyra, read Nora Ephron and plan her latest European adventure.