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How to negotiate your salary: 6 easy tips

Knowing how to negotiate your salary is an essential skill if you want your salary to remain market-related. A Forbes study in 2014 found that employees who stayed with a company for more than two years got paid 50% less over their lifetime. 

But salary negotiating is also a vital skill when you do decide to hit the job market, whether you’re aiming for one of the top salaries in the UK or just looking to improve your personal cash flow. Armed with the right information, you’ll be on your way to a pay rise in no time. 

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1. Know your salary band 

Whether you’re applying for a new position or hoping to corner your boss with your best “I’m worth it” speech, it helps to know what others in your position earn. For starters, have a look at the median salary ranges for your position and look at whether you’ve kept up with the requirements for the position. 

This could include further education or training, especially if your job title now requires more than your existing level of education. 

2. Gather a portfolio of evidence 

This is where your achievements (formally recognised or not) come into play. Keep track of the tasks that directly impact the success of the team, the client, or your particular workflow. 

A portfolio of evidence can also include recommendations and compliments from clients, peers, and teams. It helps to know exactly what you do each day in terms of the scope of your productivity. You may also have an additional skill that makes you an invaluable member of your team. 

3. Ask for what you want 

Don’t be coy. Throw your number out there. Just be sure to have facts and figures on hand as you don’t want your boss or recruiter to have a higher number in mind, meaning you end up undervaluing yourself. 

It’s also important to conduct this part of the meeting respectfully and calmly, especially when they don’t seem on board with your request. You want to start with a higher number than the one you think is fair, in case they want to bargain you down slightly. 

4. Have a gameplan for “No” 

While you don’t go into the meeting with the expectation that they’ll say no, it might just be a possibility. Even if you have all the facts and paper trail to support your request. 

In this case, it wouldn’t hurt to have an offer on hand from another company. While it might help you secure a higher income with the current company, you also have options and can make an unemotional decision. 

5. Keep it professional 

It’s important to know that your employer is not responsible for the upkeep of your personal life, which is why it’s not a good item to discuss on the agenda. Make your meeting or interview about your value rather your personal needs.  

In the long term, this will also help your employer to recognise you as an asset rather than a liability with personal money problems. While your personal situation might be one of the reasons for for wanting to negotiate your salary, your employer doesn’t need to know it. 

6. Don’t burn your bridges, even when you know how to negotiate your salary

If you’re likeable, you’re far more likely to receive a higher offer. The recruiter or boss doesn’t simply want another cog in the machine, they want someone who can best represent the culture of the business while achieving their objectives. 

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