SAN ANTONIO — Groceries and housing are costing us all more. Wages may not be keeping up with inflation for many of us. Annual reviews or possibly a new job give you the chance to negotiate for more money. Here are five tips on how to approach this difficult conversation with confidence to boost your pay.
Asking for a raise can be nerve-racking, but there are ways to reduce the stress.
1. Start by doing your due diligence before you even make the request.
“You have to be well-researched in understanding what your market value is,” said Mario Vela, executive director for the UTSA Career Center. “So from my perspective, it’s better to be prepared to understand what others in similar functions, similar industries, and also in similar regions are making.”
“You have to be prepared because if you’re not prepared, you won’t even know if you’re getting taken advantage of or not,” said Andres Lares, managing partner at the Shapiro Negotiations Institute.
Understanding your value and having the data will give you the confidence you need to make a difficult ask.
“If you’re not prepared, you actually approach it differently,” Lares said. “Whether the other side picks up on it, directly or not, that kind of level of confidence or a lack thereof can really impact how aggressive they might be and how willing to negotiate they would be.”
2. Always ask for a raise nicely but with conviction.
“You don’t need to be difficult,” Lares said. “You don’t need to be mean to get what you want. Now, you sometimes do want to be aggressive, but that’s different than being difficult or mean. Be prepared and convey your requests with conviction. There’s nothing wrong with that.”
“Remain professional and also consider you are speaking with another human,” Vela said. “This is someone you’re going to have a working relationship with so you don’t want to burn any bridges.”
3. Show your past and future value to your employer.
That means both highlighting your prior accomplishments and also describing any ideas you have to grow your position in the future. Raises often are not only based on what you have done but what you can also achieve.
“You want to get the individual hiring you excited about your potential, painting a picture of the future with you in that role,” Vela said.
4. Consider negotiating more than just salary
This can be a good tactic if there is no room for an employer to budge on pay.
“There are different benefits,” Vela said. “There are vacation packages, there’s relocation if you’re moving to another city.”
Consider also requesting a change in title, health insurance, retirement benefits, commuting expenses, or parking.
5. Think about being an ally rather than an enemy with the other party.
“Explore options,” Lares said. “Think about all the alternatives for you and for them and then start to figure out which ones make the most sense for both.”
Do not give up if you cannot reach an agreement quickly. Instead, take a break. Then return to the table.
“You may not be able to accomplish everything in one meeting,” Lares said. “It doesn’t necessarily mean you’re saying ‘I’m out of here, I’m quitting.' It gives both parties a little bit of time to kind of digest, think through things and then reconvene.”
If negotiations become difficult, take time to consider what is the least you are willing to accept.
“If you’ve already reached the point where it’s the minimum you would take, then you might want to accept that even though it could feel frustrating,” Lares said.
No matter how the negotiations turn out, it is better to negotiate than not.
“It puts you at a disadvantage long term because salary ends up being an anchor for the rest of your career.”
Even a small bump in pay can mean more money in your pocket.