How to Negotiate A Salary

Salary discussions are more often feared than not. The problem with many salary negotiations is that the employee is often placed at odds with his employer. If the employee presses too hard, he or she may worry that they will lose favor and maybe even harm their career potential. If they don't press hard enough and fail to get a reasonable increase they may feel that they are being taken advantage of and loss their positive attitude.

What many employees fail to realize is that most employers wrestle with how to attract and keep good people. Naturally they want to contained employee costs but good employees are hard to find and harder to replace. There is a very real cost of losing a good employee.

So both the employee and employer have a common goal. That is, how to keep a good employee motivated while keeping costs reasonable for the company. The core issue is not over the amount of the salary but the value received for the salary paid. This is often missed in salary negotiations.

To maximize your earning potential consider these tips on how to negotiate a salary:

Establish Your Value
In order to warrant consideration for a significant raise you need to establish why you deserve to be treated differently from your peers. Value to a company comes from the work you are doing, the cost of training your replacement, and the potential value you have to offer to the company. Start your conversation with your boss off on the right foot by clearly establishing that you hope to build your career with the company. That means you are willing to invest years of your career life with the company if they are willing to similarly invest in you. By establish the fact that you think you have far more to offer than what your current job entails you are establishing the potential value you have as a loyal and happy employee.

Throw a Curve
Your boss will be expecting you to ask for a dollar-based raise. Instead ask him how else you might be used in the company or department that would be good for your career and the company. Indicate that you have more potential than the current position requires and want to contribute more. This will often throw your boss off as he or she now has to think outside the anticipated and prepared topics.

You can further this strategy by bringing a self-evaluation to the meeting and discussing your strengths and weaknesses openly. Highlighting those qualities that warrant the company investing in you with some career planning changes the discussion from what to pay you to how to utilize your potential. By discussing your potential and the self-evaluation you are providing the reasons for your boss to handle you differently from others in your pay grade.

Offer Some Alternatives
Salary is important but it is only thing the company can do for you. Many times a company simply can't meet your salary demands immediately. But there are other benefits that may be more valuable to you than a simple pay increase. Getting placed in a fast-track program to advance has strong future value. Assistance in getting an advanced degree also enhances your future earning potential. Even moving into a high pay-grade position but at the same pay rate while you get established in the new position enhances your future salary potential.

Don't forget about upgrades in medical coverage, dental coverage, 401k matching contributions, stock options, a company car, laptop or notebook, tuition assistance, day care assistance and company cellular phones may add tangible value to you. These perks may allow the company to add to your compensation without exceeding their mandated pay range for the position you hold and many of these perks are not taxed further enhancing their value to you.

when to negotiate a raise
Don't Limit Your Options
Your job will consume at least 30% of your waking hours. You need to like the job, your peers, your boss and feel that you are being paid for the service you are providing. To make sure you are making the right career decisions you should always be open to opportunities outside the company. If other companies or departments want you, your boss will value you more. Don't be afraid to look around.

Life is short. Make sure your work contributes to a full life and does not detract. When you are meeting with your boss take the opportunity to discuss potential growth and what he or she sees in their crystal ball for you over the long term. This not only focuses your boss on the value you have to offer but on what they see for the company of which they are a part. By opening this perspective you are becoming part of the team rather than just another employee trying to get more for doing the same old thing.