You’ve been working hard, you’ve paid your dues, and you’ve held your current position at your current salary for long enough. It’s time to negotiate for a pay increase and bump your salary up so it matches the compensation level you deserve. But before this happens, you’ll need to take a few preparatory steps. The right approach can help you gain a little bit more leverage, which can translate into significant monetary value over the long term.

Determine the average for your industry.

Taking every geographic area in the country into account, what’s the average compensation for your specific job in your specific industry? If you maintain close contact with experts in this field, ask them. Otherwise, ask the internet. Visit several reputable sites including and and compare all of the ranges and values you find.

Determine the average for your geographic area.

Since the exact same job can net a vastly different salary in central Manhattan then it might in rural Arkansas, factor your regional area into your search. Start with an overall picture and then narrow your research using this specific metric.

Compensate for industry bias.

During your research, you may discover an inherent bias in salary trends within your industry, and you’ll need to make sure your negotiating position doesn’t reflect or perpetuate this bias. For example, if employees of your race or gender tend to be paid lower salaries than others for the same work, make sure you’re setting the bar at the higher level. Don’t unknowingly sell yourself short.

Organize your talking points.

You know that you deserve an increase, but you may have to work to bring your boss around to your point of view. Prepare a list of all of your reasons for making this request and all the ways your employer will benefit by giving you what you’re asking for. Be ready for any counter arguments your employer may make. For example, he or she may claim the money just isn’t in the budget, or that you don’t deserve an increase because of a minor mistake in your work, or that your salary is set by company policy and your boss lacks the power to make this change. All of these obstacles can be easily overcome, but you’ll need to lay the groundwork first.

Make an appointment.

When you’ve assembled your arguments and done your research, reach out to your employer and set a clear a date and time at which you’ll sit down for a conversation. Don’t ambush him in the hallway or allow her to dismiss your request without a formal meeting. Be polite, persistent, and confident. If you don’t get what you need, start looking for opportunities outside the company.

For more on how to take control of your career and get the compensation you deserve, contact the job search team at Expert.

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