Looking to earn more money? If you’re gearing up for a salary negotiation with your boss, don’t panic! Blogger Bridget Casey has advice for negotiating an increase in pay.

When people think about increasing their income, they think about taking on a second- or part-time job to earn another paycheck. While this is effective, it’s not nearly as efficient as getting paid more money for the work you’re already doing.

However, most Grownups find asking for more money uncomfortable. The truth is, negotiating your salary begins long before the actual conversation. Here are three strategies to help you get exactly what you ask for when it comes to negotiating the salary you want.

  1. Look Ahead: Plan for the Raise You Want in the Next Two to Five Years

The earlier you are in your career, the less bargaining power you have to negotiate for higher pay. But you do have an ample supply of time, and you should use it to make yourself a high-value, irreplaceable employee. When you think of your dream salary, consider the dream job it takes to earn it. What skills do you need to get there? What kind of education is required to get your foot in the door?

If credentials or experience are currently holding you back from the role and paycheck you want, make a roadmap of exactly how you plan to get there. Identify any certifications, diplomas, or degrees you need, and how long and how much they will cost for you to earn. Look for opportunities to get your current employer to pay for your education and skill development. When it comes to the conversation about salary negotiation, being able to list the credentials you have or are working toward will help make your case for higher pay.

  1. Keep Tabs on Yourself

In every job I’ve ever had, I carried a small notebook with me where I recorded daily all the projects I was working on and their results over time. If something was a particular success, I highlighted or circled the result so I could easily find it later. If I received any praise from clients in an email, I printed it out and taped it into my notebook. The result was that by the time performance reviews came around, I had a solid record of exactly what I had accomplished over the past six to 12 months.

Your boss is watching you and is likely happy to reward good performance, but it never hurts to remind them just how good you’re doing, and the best way to do that is with facts and figures. Keep a daily bullet-point log of your activities, and then record any big wins you have with clients, events, or product sales. Numbers speak the loudest, so record dollar figures or percent increases whenever possible.

  1. Don’t Be Afraid to Job Hop

The best time to negotiate your salary is when you’re first hired. For this reason, consider switching to a similar or higher-up position at a new company. You can typically negotiate 10 to 20 percent more in pay at a new job, whereas you can only expect 3 to 5 percent in annual raises if you stay with your current employer. Studies show employees who stay in companies longer than two years earn 50 percent less.

When you go into salary negotiations for a new job, use the same strategies you would use to ask for more money from your current employer. Share your success stories with your prospective employer, as well as your plans and goals in the next few years. A new employer will be willing to invest more in you if you can show that you’re a high-performer who plans to continue developing their skills and talents in the future.

Asking for higher pay can be an intimidating and uncomfortable conversation, but if you can prove your worth, an employer will be happy to pay a bit extra for your abilities. If you set yourself up to be a star employee who brings a lot of value to the company, asking for more money will be the easiest part of your salary negotiation conversation.

Bridget-Casey-Headshot
Bridget Casey writes for MoneyAfterGraduation.com.

Any third-party resources or websites referenced above are not under Society of Grownups control. Society of Grownups cannot guarantee and are not responsible for the accuracy of the resources, websites, or any products or services available through such resources or websites.

While Society of Grownups hopes the information is useful, it’s only intended to provide general education. It’s not legal, tax, or investment advice, and may not apply or be useful to your specific financial situation. If you need recommendations geared to your personal financial situation, schedule time with a financial planner.

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