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More Bang for Your Buck

Updated on May 21, 2011

Negotiate for that salary increase you've been waiting for.

Before you ask your boss for a salary increase, do a little homework to ensure a productive discussion and alternative plan, in case you're not able to get exactly what your asking for.

Know Your Worth

A winning argument is backed up by facts or real data. Find our the going rate in the job market for someone your caliber, doing your job functions. Have a baseline number that is grounded on current information -- check and compare salary levels through your network. Arm yourself with a list of your contributions to your company in the past years. Quantifiable achievements are best: any increase in sales or profit, improved efficiency, or reduction in costs that you were directly responsible for. The point is to convince your employer that you deserve to be rewarded for the value you have contributed.

Prepare Your Argument and Present it Professionally

Set a private meeting; create a spiel that includes your contributions and how you plan to commit to doing your job even better in the future. Your value to the company should be directly proportional to your salary. If you've been doubling up, taking more on more responsibilities, this should be included in your discussion. Do not use personal reasons, such as more mouths to feed or loans to pay, in your request for salary increase.

Be Realistic in Your Expectations

At the minimum, salary increase should cover annual increases in the cost of living. Additional percentage increases are usually based on your or the company's performance for the year. If your company has been having financial difficulty, or your performance hasn't really been stellar, you may not get an increase any time soon. Find out the average increases for others in the company and temper your expectations accordingly. If your boss cannot give an increase immediately, request for a plan on how you can work towards this.

Asses Your Options

If you don't get a raise, despite performing beyond expectations, in a company which is financially healthy, be ready to propose alternatives. This may include a possible improvement on job level, which may qualify you for additional benefits, flexible work hours or a work from home option, additional training, or even a one-time bonus.

If you are unsuccessful in negotiating any improvements, assess if staying on would be the best for you. If you believe you are not getting the rewards you deserve and would like to move on, keep your conduct professional. Don't use other offers as bargaining chips unless you are prepared for the prospect of your employer calling the bluff.

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