8 Ways To Negotiate A Better Paycheck
Use eight tips to increase your paycheck.
By Angela Rose for Hcareers.com
We know your secret.
It’s not your hidden love of bad 1980s hair metal bands. Or your irrational fear of ladybugs. It’s not even that time you spent an entire weekend putting costumes on your cats. Nope, it’s your secret wish to earn more money—and it’s nothing that should cause embarrassment. Everyone—whether working as a server, guest service agent or general manager—wants a larger paycheck. Unfortunately, far fewer are willing to negotiate one. In fact, according to one survey of nearly 2,000 workers, 18 percent never bother to negotiate pay—even though most employers expect candidates to do so.
We think it’s time for hospitality professionals to set this reluctance aside and ask for what they believe they are worth. Whether you’re working at a U.S. hotel, a U.K. restaurant or a posh resort in Canada, stop waiting for managers and potential employers to offer you more, and use these negotiation tips to increase your paycheck. We promise it won’t be as scary as a box full of creepy-crawlies.
1. Gather the numbers.
Do you know the going market rate for your position? It’s essential to determine this number before you begin the negotiation process. If you’re already earning more than the average cook or security officer in your city, you may have to work a little harder to prove you’re worth more. If you’re earning less than your contemporaries do at hotels and restaurants of similar size, you’ll have greater leverage. Either way, you can research current salaries using resources such as PayScale, Glassdoor and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Find the right people to network with and you can glean information directly from other professionals as well.
2. Select a pay range.
Unfortunately, determining fair pay is not as simple as comparing your paycheck to another professional with the same hospitality job title. Whether you’re a sous chef or a restaurant office administrator, other factors including years of experience, education, certifications, past performance and level of responsibility will all affect your personal market value. Considering these factors while researching salary should help you select a pay range for which you can negotiate when asking for a raise or accepting a new position.
3. Nail down your justifications.
Whether a new employer has offered you an operations manager salary that is lower than you expected, or you want to use your annual performance review as an opportunity to ask for an increase, justifying your request for a higher rate is essential. Is the offer below market rate even after you factor in other benefits? Has it been at least a year since your last increase? Have you been exceeding your employer’s expectations? Have you recently taken on additional responsibilities? Make a list of your accomplishments and—for extra points—gather documentation to support them (see more on this below).
4. Prepare a one sheet.
According to Anna Rydne of the Communicate [your] Skills blog, “Teamed up with your resume and cover letter, a shiny one sheet could be the missing piece in your personal branding puzzle.” You can use this type of promotional piece—complete with details on recent accomplishments, awards, coworker testimonials and quotes from your own manager’s complementary emails—to demonstrate your value further. The more valuable a potential (or current) employer believes you are, the more likely he or she is to fight for you in the salary ring.
5. Answer current salary questions carefully.
You don’t want your current salary to dictate what your next employer is willing to pay you—especially if you’ve been earning less than your actual market value. However, we’d never recommend you falsely inflate your earnings when an interviewer puts you on the spot. Instead, follow certified professional resume writer Erin Kennedy’s advice for answering salary requirement questions. Spoiler alert: “negotiable” is an essential word.
6. Don’t get personal.
Maybe you just had a second child, your healthcare insurance premium went up or your spouse has been pestering you about taking a long overdue trip to Europe. Extra dollars in the bank would be a big help, but don’t focus on personal reasons when asking for a higher salary. Instead, limit your arguments to your salary research (market rate) and your performance and accomplishments (one sheet).
7. Ask questions.
If your current (or potential) boss reacts negatively to your suggested salary, don’t hang your head in shame. Instead, ask questions to keep the conversation going while you determine the next step in your negotiation. Try queries such as “What do you feel is a fair salary for this position?” or “What can I do to show you I’m worth this amount?” These and other salary negotiation questions can help you nudge the other party in the right direction.
8. Counter with other options.
He said, “No.” You asked additional questions. You can now give up or counter with other options. Perhaps you’d be equally satisfied with a four-day workweek, better shifts or a designated parking space. Maybe an extra week of vacation would benefit you just as much as a three percent salary increase. Everything is on the table—if you’ve prepared for salary negotiations—from job responsibilities and title to stock options and tuition reimbursement. Choose two or three that are most important to you and make a counteroffer in lieu of a higher starting wage or immediate raise.
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About the Author
Angela Rose researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends, and workplace issues for Hcareers.com.
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