Today’s question comes from a busy professional:

What are some things to avoid saying during a salary negotiation? Please respond with any top tips
for mid-career people looking to negotiate a higher salary.

It’s time to ask for a raise, what are some things to avoid saying during a salary negotiation?

How to prepare

1) Do your homework by knowing the salary range of your role, duties, and responsibility (www.Salary.com gives you some salary range).

Make sure you are comparing the salary to the tasks, roles, duties, and responsibilities that you are performing (versus a job title). Often times you may be doing Senior Level responsibilities, but your official title is just Level 1
Experiment with other adjacent job titles and levels to see the ranges of those roles and responsibilities.
Investigate the difference between a role with and without certifications, higher-level degrees or licenses.

2) Show (with numbers and percentage) your individual and team contribute to the company’s bottom line.
This means you can show (with backup data) how much money you made or saved the company. Regardless of your role or company industry, companies are in the business to make money. Therefore, every action of every employee can be directly associated with money made or saved.
If you cannot see a direct correlation between your duties and the company’s margins, seek assistance from your manager, your HR representative, your mentors or your business/success coach.
If you haven’t been collecting that type of data, start now. Create a set of meaning metrics and start today.

3) Investigate the employment climate regarding your role.
This means that you have met with external recruiters to verify that your position is still very relevant, sustainable and valued in the current economy. It’s risky to ask for a raise without doing this level of homework. You need to understand the market trends and technical climate.

What if your platform or role is being phased out in place of the next “hot” trend? Then asking for a raise would be useless.
If you find that your skills are becoming obsolete – develop new skills, training, certification in a more relevant but adjacent role. An adjacent role is one that takes advantage of those same transferable skill sets.

4) Outline the additional certifications, licenses, continuing education and training that you have received since your last salary increase.
Quantifiably and tangibly show (with numbers and percentage) how those additional skills, experience, and competence increased your productivity, proficiency, and performance.
Keep a Professional and Career Press Kit of all your accomplishments as you go along. This would include any awards, accommodations, client recognition, and letters of recommendations.

5) Be prepared to ask for a promotion.
One of the best ways to ask for a raise is to be actually performing at the next performance level. If you can tangibly show that you are already working at the next performance level (next promotion level) and are making significant monetary contributions to the companies’ bottom line, it makes the salary increase discussion much easier.

Your job is to line up things so that they can’t help but not give you the raise.

Alternatives

An alternative to asking for a raise is to focus on your next promotion level.
• Meet with your manager to outline exactly what you need to accomplish and deliver to achieve your next promotion (or raise)
• Create an Individual Development Plan and a Professional Business Commitment plan that explicitly outline your manager’s expectations and how you plan to acquire those skills and experience.
• By making your manager your co-conspirator in your career development, you will have a less stressful salary and performance discussions. It will go from “feeling like you are bragging” — to “checking off your agreed upon list”.

The main thing is to be confident in your negotiations. The best way to build confidence is to believe that you actually deserve the increase. These above preparation tips build that confidence whether you decide to stay at this company or move elsewhere.

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