The Art of Negotiating a Raise, Promotion, Better Job Title, and Bonus

Negotiation is a give-and-take process until an eventual agreement is reached between two or more parties. To understand the art of negotiation, a jobseeker must understand that it is a give process as much as it is a receiving process. Look at the proposition from the side of your employer. When faced with such a proposition, your superior will ask himself the reasons you’re deserving of more and whether it’s feasible for the department or company to give you such. Never, or very rarely, a company gives a raise or some other compensation based on an employee’s individual need.

You must be offering extensive and solid value. So, before you approach asking for a raise, think about how much you have given over the last few months or year.  Securing a pay raise, yearly bonus, stock options, or more vacation isn’t as easy as putting a memo into your superior, however, companies tend to be more receptive to employees who go beyond their position descriptions.

Before continuing, lets briefly review a couple wrong reasons to ask for a raise.  First, don’t request a raise in response to newly acquired financial responsibilities or debt from the purchase of a house or car. Employers are concerned about their employees; however, giving raises to those who subsequently find themselves in over their heads isn’t practical. Second, don’t ask for more money when you’re having difficulty getting along with coworkers and authoritative figures. Personal conflict does not constitute an increase in pay for you to stick around — and to put it bluntly, employers don’t care whether you can’t get along with Jane Coworker. You perform a job, and your responsibility is to perform that job to the liking and satisfaction of your employer. Unless you’re in a position that can’t be easily filled, avoid giving your employer an ultimatum or you’ll find yourself out of a job.

Create a Master Plan and Portfolio
When you’ve come to conclusion that you need more, start by building a master plan. Mapping out specifics on why you deserve a raise and listing areas where you’ve done great work will help you outline the steps to obtaining a raise — and any other add-ons you’re seeking. Points to include:

  • Create a bulleted list of fresh achievements, incorporating numbers, percentages, and dollar amounts whenever possible. Examples of achievements include top sales/revenue generated, project finished before deadline, product or service improvements, and so on. List 5-7 top and most recognizable accomplishments. 
  • List added responsibilities.  Focus on the last couple of years and avoid going back too far (i.e. three or more years), keeping the information fresh. 
  • Insert a list of recent trainings and credentials, or a degree that you’ve received that is ultimately benefiting your employer. For example, those who obtain a bachelor’s or master’s degree definitely 1offer more to their employers after the degree than before. 
  • Include copies of praising letters and emails from clients, superiors, and colleagues. 
  • Finally, devise a timeline. Keep in mind the record-keeping schedule of your company. For example, if asking at the start of a new fiscal year will increase your chances then pinpoint a feasible time.

Take the bullet points, your timeline, and other documentation and place them within a decorative folder or three-ring binder. By placing this information into a detailed portfolio, you will end up with a consolidated and professional presentation. Expand your portfolio every couple of weeks, if possible.

Employers know that positions oftentimes expand and contract in accordance with changes in business. Rather than recognizing these opportunities as a bad sign, because you will take on a larger workload, look at it as a positive good. New projects and work duties mean new opportunities to learn and expand your knowledge on other facets of your employer.

Even though you prepare, plan, and do everything right, a pay raise may not be in the cards. In the current economy, some companies are experiencing significant growth, while others are lagging behind.  Asking for a raise may seem reasonable and achievable, however, the answer may not be in one’s favor. Some businesses cannot afford the added expense, therefore, be prepared to discuss an alternate plan such as a more prestigious job title.

Before you enter the room, take a deep breath. Preparation is the key to success.

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