It's one of the hardest things to approach when you're working, and can be quite scary to do if you crumble at the thought of rejection – but sometimes, salary negotiations are absolutely essential.
Looking at various articles, discussion pages, and just general advice from colleagues, there are two major mistakes that people make when trying to ask for a raise.
Either, you'll wait and wait for your management to acknowledge your work (and they won't) or, you go into a discussion, totally unprepared and demand X amount of money, and come out with a less than great result.
To avoid these pitfalls, here are three steps to help you along the way before you go anywhere near a meeting room:
1. KNOW what you bring to the table
If you don't already, keep tabs on your wins and your responsibilities. Whether you keep note on Google Drive or in your ratty TY notebook, make sure you write down and record every major project, task and meeting you do well in.
Then, every few months, go back and see how much you have achieved. This way, you will know what you spend your time on, as well as being prepared for the 'what do you bring to the table?' question.
2. KNOW your market rate
There's no point going in and asking for 40 grand, if everyone else in your field is only earning 30.
Research how much your worth, by using Internet tools such as MyWage, or simply, by asking people in and around your industry.
However, don't forget that these will be ballpark numbers. So, consider as much information as you can, and be honest with yourself.
How long are you working there? How much do you put into the company (in the grand scheme of things)? How large is the company? Where are you based? These questions all need to be asked and considered.
3. Plan, plan, plan
The worst thing you can do is go into a meeting with absolutely no information. Plan your proposal and what you're going to say. Plan an intro and an ending (for both good and bad outcomes).
Make sure you include your data sources and research, and have it all laid out on paper, so everything is clear to both you and your employer.
And be careful not to exaggerate or embellish. If you reach too far, your employer will know this and it could be what tarnishes your whole proposal.
It's going to be a daunting conversation, but if you feel you need to go for it, then GO for it.
If you don't get the answer you were hoping for, ask for a review in three or six months time. And, remember to always follow your conversation up with an email.
Whether your salary increases or not, keep tabs on your work going forward and your progress, so you'll be prepared for salary negotiations the next time they come around.
Oh, and while we have you; don't forget to have your say in the inaugural SHEmazing Awards this May! It's time to vote, and you can do it right here!