No one likes talking about money.
I don’t remember someone ever sitting me down to tell me never discuss money with anyone. But for some reason, we’ve all been taught not to talk about it.
When we do talk about it with our friends and family, it’s usually always presented in a lower voice than normal, as though to make sure no one else hears us, even if we’re alone.
So, it’s no wonder we have such a hard time discussing salaries with our bosses and managers.
But despite how intimidating asking for a raise can be, there’s things you can do to prepare for the conversation ahead of time.
Here are the top 4 things you shouldn’t do when negotiating your salary and asking for a raise.
1. Complain About Where You Are in Your Career
Don’t start off the conversation complaining. Avoid statements like these.
“I’ve work hard here for the last two years and no one appreciates me.”
“I work overtime almost every night.”
“I don’t necessarily like my position and I would appreciate it if I had an increase in my salary.” (Better yet, if everyone at work knows you don’t like your position, then you probably shouldn’t be asking for a raise.)
“My previous employer didn’t appreciate me and I want to work at a place that does.”
Complaining only brings negativity into the conversation and that’s not the way to go if you want a positive outcome.
Instead: Highlight Your Accomplishments & What You Can Bring to The Table
Rather than plaguing the conversation with negativity. Discuss your many accomplishments. If you’re asking for a raise, talk about all the amazing things you’ve done so far in your position. Here are a few things you can say:
“In the past year, I’ve helped the company accomplish [insert your best work here].”
“As a first-year associate [or insert other position], I’ve been doing many things that second year [insert position] do, such as [insert your best work here], and I’d like to align my compensation with my output.”
If you’re negotiating an initial job offer and the position is similar to what you’ve done in the past, you can say something like: “In my previous position, I was able to [insert your best accomplishments], and I am confident that I will be able to do the same in this position.”
Have a list of your accomplishments handy and be sure to always mention the excellent work you’ve done thus far. Managers are more inclined to negotiate when your successes are at the forefront of the conversation.
2. Tell Your Employer That They Can Afford It
A recent survey found that telling your employer that they can afford to increase your salary is a no, no. As tempting as it may sound to say, just don’t do it.
Instead: Discuss Your Market Value and Salary Research
Do you research before walking into your manager’s office asking for a raise. And, definitely before you counter an initial job offer. Salary.com is a good place to start your salary research, you can also use SalaryExpert.com and Payscale.com.
Once you have a good grasp of your market value, focus on that.
Here are some examples of statements to make:
“According to Salary.com, the standard rate for this position is [insert salary rate you discovered].”
After doing my research, I discovered that the average pay for someone at my level, with my qualifications is [insert salary rate here].
If you’re negotiating a job offer and get asked about your previous salary, The Muse recommends that you say something like this: “I’ve hit a pay ceiling at my previous company and am looking for a company that values its existing employees as much as its new hires.”
In this instance, make sure to keep the conversation focused on the future rather than the past. You are worth your market value and not the low-level salary you may have had in the past.
3. Talk About Your Personal Circumstances
Please keep your personal business to yourself. Do not share that you want to start a family, or that you are overwhelmed by your loans, or that you moved closer to the downtown area for this positon and your rent is through the roof. Unfortunately, no one cares.
Just like you shouldn’t complain, it’s best to keep your emotions out of the equation.
Instead: Focus on the Facts
Stay focused on the facts like your salary research and the things you’ve accomplished so far. If you find yourself wanting to beg or demand, take a deep breath. Silence is king in these types of conversations. Plus, a few moments of silence will help you remember the most important points you need to make.
If you’re discussing a job offer, and your potential employer is still offering you a lower salary than you proposed, instead of saying all the things you’ll be able to do in your personal life if you had a better salary, say instead: “What I’d need to feel comfortable accepting this role is at least, [insert salary rate you’re willing to accept].”
If you’re negotiating a raise, and your boss is not budging, you can say: “Thank you, I understand. What are specific improvements I can make to qualify for a raise at this level?” Once you receive a response, you can add: “Perfect, I’m willing to do that. I’d like to revisit this conversation again in 6 months [or whatever timeframe is most appropriate], does that timeline work for you?”
4. Apologize for Bringing Up the Conversation
Finally, never apologize for bringing up something you know that you deserve. Even if the conversation takes some twists and turns, don’t pity yourself for bringing up the conversation and don’t say sorry either.
Instead: Inject Positivity Throughout the Conversation
Rather than spewing apologies left and right, say things like this:
“I really appreciate you taking the time to discuss this.”
“I’m really excited about this opportunity.”
“Sounds like we’re getting close to a compromise!”
“I know that we can get to a place that satisfies both of us.”
Salary negotiations can be sticky. But with a little practice, confidence and research, you’ll be well on your way to the career and salary you deserve. You got this!