If you feel your main salary isn't going far enough, you're not alone. In 2014, more than 7 million Americans had part-time jobs for economic reasons, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Kristi Hedges wrote in Forbes in 2013 that many are taught that talking about money is impolite and tend to accept salaries without question, at least after the new job negotiation. Taking a look at your job, changes to it and how your company operates may reveal avenues available to pursue a raise.
Knowing what your job is worth on the open market helps set a basis for your process. Salary negotiation consultant Kate Donovan wrote in 2013 that information gathering before a discussion with your boss is prudent. She recommends such steps as checking salary research websites, trade association data from your job or industry and even checking your company internally to find published salary levels. Co-workers and industry colleagues may also be a source of information, but be cautious about confidentiality agreements. The Bureau of Labor Statistics keeps extensive salary information by job title, industry classifications and even state and city variations, though this information may be over a year out-of-date.
Focus On Results
Talking about the hours you put in last month won't compel your boss to open the vault. Hedges writes that your company looks ahead for your future contributions, not for what you've already done -- and already been paid to do. This doesn't mean that past contributions aren't available as a negotiating point. Donovan suggests preparing your case on results, not on your efforts. When you can present your accomplishments in terms of real dollars saved, you're more likely to get a sympathetic hearing. For example, you can say, "I negotiated after hours with our courier to reduce costs." Explaining that the new deal saves $50,000 over the next year changes the focus of your message from "me" to "us."
Frame Your Discussion
Hedges says a salary negotiation isn't something to spring on your boss. Scheduling a time and allowing your boss to prepare serves your purpose in a reasonable raise request. Cheryl Montgomery, assistant human resources manager from Ann Arbor, Michigan, agrees. "The best salary discussions are reasonable from both sides of the table," she says. Cornering your boss can only hurt your chances by putting her on the defensive. You're inviting your boss to review your salary, not demanding that she act." Donovan recommends using the term "salary adjustment," not a raise, when you've found your salary is below market value. She also suggests you open with the phrase "discuss my salary" instead of asking for a raise.
Negotiation coach Jim Camp wrote in 2007 that starting the meeting by telling your boss you're comfortable if she says no is a smart move. It establishes an open and honest groundwork for discussion, an unspoken acknowledgement that this will be a business meeting. It also serves as an opening of dialogue and not a matter that must be decided now -- or else. Posturing and ultimatums have no place in raise requests says Camp. Montgomery agrees, adding, "your boss knows that you may look for another job if you're not happy with your pay. When you say it out loud, you're opening an adversarial posture that's easier for her to refuse. Raise or not, you haven't helped your professional reputation." A "no" answer now is not a closed door Hedges says. If you approach the matter in a non-confrontational way, he says, the raise request may jump-start the process from your boss's point-of-view.
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