There’s a point in every career where an employee is going to have to negotiate either a job offer or a raise for the first time. Because most people aren’t born negotiators, many workers end up making only a fraction of what they are worth.
While some people are afraid to negotiate their salary, it is actually a sign of professionalism — because it shows that you’re serious, intelligent and value your expertise. Here are my top negotiation tips:
Do your due diligence
Sites like Salary.com and PayScale.com are great ways to find out the salary range of a particular position. Also remember to speak with your industry mentors to discover what amount you should expect and how much you might be able to increase it by. It’s important to collect all of this information before entering the negotiation process. That way you’re equipped to respond to any pushback.
Use data to justify the increase
If you want to earn more, you have to be able to prove the value of your contributions. If you’re in sales, keep good records of all the deals you’ve closed and the amount of total revenue your work has generated. In marketing? Now is the perfect time to talk about the number of leads you’ve generated through your various campaigns and then how many of those leads were closed by the sales team. The key thing is to show your boss that it makes more sense for the company to pay you more than lose you to their competition in the future.
Always try to have multiple offers
Whether you’re a job seeker or employee, you should aim to have several job offers so that you can use them as leverage. The more offers you have, the more negotiating power you have and the more insight you have into how much you are valued in the marketplace. If you get an offer, that doesn’t mean you should stop interviewing. And if you’re an employee, you should still be interviewing from time to time to ensure that you’re earning what you are worth. Don’t become complacent — a new opportunity could be waiting just around the corner.
Dan Schawbel is a workplace expert, keynote speaker, and author of the New York Times best-selling book, “Promote Yourself: The New Rules For Career Success.”