The time has come. You’ve worked diligently and put in your dues, proving yourself to be a talented employee worthy of a raise. Now you’re faced with the difficult challenge of not only asking, but securing that deserved bump in pay. Here we identify a few pitfalls to avoid and highlight successful strategies to utilize in your next raise negotiation.

Common Mistakes

  1. Talk focused around being underpaid

People ask for raises because they feel like they’re underpaid, but this doesn’t mean your pitch should be centered around that fact. Framing the conversation in terms of being underpaid puts your boss on the defensive, making them feel like they’ve somehow personally slighted you. It also can come off as feeling entitled, rather than a deserving an increase in pay. Both of these factors make those on the decision end of the negotiation less receptive to your pitch.

  1. Setting an unrealistic number

There’s nothing that defuses a negotiation faster than asking for a ridiculously high pay raise. Even if you are significantly underpaid, entering a meeting with a ludicrous asking price will shut down any form of productive conversation. It’s okay to ask for a percent increase you know you may not get and work down to a more reasonable number, but setting the initial bar too high is a sure-fire method to getting no raise at all.

  1. Excessive boasting or comparisons

It’s important to consider how you are coming off during a negotiation. You want to highlight your strengths and value to the company but avoid sounding arrogant or braggadocios. Appearing full or yourself is off-putting and does not elicit positive responses from those responsible for your fate. Similarly, comparing how much better you are than your co-workers makes you seem like a poor team player and somewhat not worthy of more money.

Effective Strategies

  1. Prepare and practice

The importance of preparing and rehearsing your pitch for a raise cannot be overstated. Make a list of your specific accomplishments and highlight how they have positively impacted the company. You should be prepared to talk about these in great detail and actually prove beyond general speculation the value you have demonstrated. The more definitive you can make these achievements, the better. It’s far easier to quantify value if it’s put in real numbers that you’ve created or saved. Additionally, practice the pitch with your friends and family to receive feedback. It’ll help you hone your pitch and alleviate some of the nervousness that accompanies asking for more money.

  1. Salary comparison

This can be difficult and is somewhat of a balancing act. You’ll want to find out how similar professionals in your field and skill level are compensated and highlight this to your boss. However, you do not want to inaccurately compare yourself to others or ask for something outside of the company’s realistic pay scale. For example, a software engineer at a smaller company asking to make the same amount of a software engineer at Google would prove extremely ineffective. Rather, demonstrating what your position’s comparable worth is a good starting point for negotiations.

  1. Be flexible

It’s pretty unlikely that you are not going to get exactly what you ask for entering a raise negotiation. Therefore, having a floor of what you’re willing to accept and preparing to be flexible is a good strategy to employ. Nobody likes dealing with an excessively stubborn person and holding rigid to one number may prevent you from getting anything at all. Additionally, raises don’t always have to be salary alone. Vacation days, flexible work hours and stock options are all benefits that can be negotiated. A willingness to come up with a creative package of perks makes it far more likely you walk out of a negotiation meeting satisfied.