How Do You Negotiate Your Salary?

Do you need to learn how to negotiate salary for your next review or job search? No one likes to negotiate salary, but it's a necessary evil if you want to progress in your career. The typical salary negotiation process can be a bit daunting if you don't know what to do - that's why we're here to help.

It can be challenging to know what to say when negotiating salary, but it's essential that you make your case! The best way is to have as much data as possible when it comes to your job role and just precisely what you do that makes you deserve more money. You also need to show your manager that you're invaluable, which you can do by pointing out all of the things they would miss if they let you go.

And it's not just about saying the right things when it comes to your meeting; there are so many things to consider before you even get to the negotiating table, and there's often no clear-cut answer on how much you should ask for.

But it doesn't have to be that complicated. Chances are you may not be in the best position when negotiating, so here are three key strategies on how to negotiate salary when it comes time for your next job or promotion offer.

Table of Contents:

  • How to Negotiate Salary

    • Strategy 1: Be Prepared

      • Know Your Worth 

      • Make Sure You're Ready

      • Plan The Right Time

      • Practice, Practice, Practice

      • Be Willing to Walk Away

    • Strategy 2: Starting The Conversation

      • Confidence is Key

      • Show What You Can do

      • Be Positive and Professional 

    • Strategy 3: Make The Ask

      • Go High and Ask First

      • Don't be Afraid to Counter

      • Focus, be Kind, and be Firm

      • Last Resort: Look at Other Options

  • Conclusion

How to Negotiate Salary

Strategy 1: Be Prepared

Before you even think about approaching your boss or future employer in regards to salary negotiation, you'll want to be fully prepared first. So here are all the steps you need to take before asking for that negotiation meeting:

Know Your Worth

You can't ask for the raise you deserve if you don't know it; that's why you need to do some digging of your own to find out your worth. First, check out your current salary - if you're not sure what your salary is, ask your employer for the paystub so you can look for yourself. Once you know your current salary, research the average salary for your job role around your local area and compare the two figures.

It's essential to make sure the salary figures you research are relevant to your location, as different states have different averages for the same job role. Not sure how to research job role salaries? It's super simple! You can type in your job details and pay into a salary calculator for an easy average, or you could take a look at any recent job advertisements for similar roles and note the salaries.

If you're known for getting a few recruiter calls, you can use them to your advantage, too; next time a recruiter calls, have a chat with them and ask for a salary estimate - usually, they won't give you a straight number, but you should get a salary range at least. 

Make Sure You're Ready

Before you ask for a raise, you need to know that you deserve and are ready for one. You should ask yourself a few simple questions first: have you been at your job for a year? Have you taken on new responsibilities? Have you exceeded your expectations? If you've answered yes to the above questions, then you should be ready for that raise!

Now you just need to show your boss that you deserve a raise. A great way to do this is to prepare a one-page summary of all your achievements and successes since your last review - this is also known as a brag sheet and will prove to your employer just how valuable you and your work are. If you have any customer or co-worker testimonials, awards, or recent accomplishments, make sure to pop them on your brag sheet!

Plan The Right Time

Timing is everything when it comes to how to negotiate salary. Did you know employers are more likely to agree to a raise on Thursdays? Studies show that employers are less hard-nosed by Thursday and Friday, and so you've got a better chance of approval if you hold out till later on in the week to pop the question.

But it's not just about what day of the week you should discuss your income concerns. Your boss will usually decide on your salary increase a few months before review season, as this is when they work out their budget. So if you want to higher raise or a chance of negotiating the number your boss has in mind for you, you'd be best off getting the ball rolling three to four months before review season.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Practice makes perfect! If you can, practice and rehearse with a friend or relative, so you get used to a review setting. If you're struggling with what to say when negotiating salary, you can jot down a salary negotiation script or check out some salary negotiation examples online to help you out.

If it's a new job offer you're negotiating, you can send over some simple emails to haggle your desired salary, so you shouldn't have to practice too much. When it comes to in-person review meetings, you want to head into them feeling comfortable and ready to go, so be prepared to spend some time going over everything you want to say and all the points you want to make on the big day.

Be Willing to Walk Away

You need to have a set walk-away point, whether it's a new job offer or a current role you're in. You don't want to work for less than you're worth, so you should decide what number is the lowest you'll take and stick to it. This number can be based on multiple things: market value, financial need, or your personal preference.

If you're willing to be a bit more flexible, you can attach extra perks to your raise if you're willing to work with your employer's offer. Things like working from home, paid breaks, or extra vacation time can be brought into the equation to make up for a lower raise. If you're negotiating the salary of a new job, you have slightly more power to play with - you can simply walk away, and this alone holds tremendous power that employers will notice.

Strategy 2: Starting The Conversation

So now you have your research, it's time to work on starting the conversation. This can be a nervewracking experience for anyone, so don’t worry if your nerves get to you! Here are a few pointers for heading into your meeting:

Confidence is Key

Confidence can make a massive impact on any situation. If you walk into a room showing confidence, your employer and everyone else in the room will see that, too. So it's always good to start with positive vibes!

If you need some help getting into a good headspace before your meeting, try drinking some coffee and practicing your power stances in the bathroom. Caffeine is known to make you more resistant to persuasion, so you'll be less likely to back down at a low salary offer. 

Show What You Can do

This is your time to shine and really prove you're worth what you're going to ask for in salary. Get out your brag sheet and talk your employer through all of the things you've done and what more you can do and have to offer. If you can, print out your brag sheet and give a copy to your employer so they can see all your achievements on paper.

Emphasize the times you've gone above and beyond your job role - this will help you build your case for a decent raise. You need to be able to justify your requests, or else you could come across as just plain arrogant.

Be Positive and Professional 

When negotiating and haggling, it can be hard to keep a positive mindset. It's vital that you keep your tone professionally positive and avoid coming across as pushy. For those that are looking to negotiate a raise with their current employer, try using this salary negotiation script to start off your conversation: "I'd like to discuss my current compensation.

I'm currently earning a typical salary for an average performer in my role, but, considering everything I've accomplished in the past year, I think it makes sense for me to be earning a bit higher. I would like to be earning [your desired salary]."

Strategy 3: Make The Ask

If you've followed our advice for both the strategies above, you should now be ready for the final strategy - making the ask! Here's what you should do when asking for a higher salary:

Go High and Ask First

The first number put on the table is the focal point of your salary negotiation; after all, this number will be what the rest of your meeting will be based off. It would be best if you tried to get your number out first, that way, you steer the negotiation and gain some control. Your employer will most likely haggle with your preposed salary figure, so make sure you go in with a high one.

Remember those salary averages you found when researching? Pick the highest number you found and start with that - it's good to go in higher than what you actually want, so this way you won't be haggled down to a disappointing wage, and your employer won't feel defeated either.

Don't be Afraid to Counter

The whole point of negotiating is turning a 'no' into a 'yes,' and you can only do this with counteroffers. Don't be scared of hearing a 'no,' as this is all part of the process, and it doesn't necessarily mean the meeting is over. For example, if you've asked for a higher salary and your employer has said no, you can always make a polite counter offer.

Show that you understand where your employer is coming from and confirm your enthusiasm for the job, but don't forget to state your skills and what you believe they are worth. Then go in with a slightly different counter offer and see what your employer has to say.

Focus, be Kind, and be Firm

Focus on the market value of your current job role and try to avoid discussing your new salary based on your current one. Examining the current market value for people of your skillset will show that you've done your research and is a great tip for how to negotiate salary. Remember to be kind but firm; you don't want to come across too soft or willing to take lower than what the current market is offering.

Look at Other Options

If your employer (or future employer) refuses to budge, it might be time to look at other options. Try negotiating other perks if you can, but if your discussion still isn't going to plan, you can always walk away. There are plenty of other jobs available out there, and you can even be your own boss and start up a business for yourself!

Don't let yourself be trapped by your employer and put some trust in yourself - you know your own worth.


So now that you've read this blog post, it's time to put your knowledge into action! Think about how much more confident and empowered you'll feel when you start negotiating yourself a better salary. Now that you have a better understanding of how haggling a new salary works, make plans with your current employer or start looking for new opportunities and get the pay rate you deserve! If you need to create a payslip as proof of income, you may use our paystub creator!

Create a pay stub hassle free in under 10 minutes.

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