How do you ask your boss for more money?
Talking about money can be uncomfortable, especially when you are asking your boss for a raise or asking a potential employer to make you a better offer. It can feel like you don’t have control over the conversation, since the other person ultimately gets to decide whether to pay you more or not. But talking about money is an expected part of business, and if you never ask for better pay, you’ll miss out on opportunities to earn more.
1. Don’t be afraid to broach the subject
Your manager probably anticipates that you’ll ask about pay when negotiating a job offer and again after you’ve been at your job a few years. So, you shouldn’t feel like money is a taboo subject. In fact, employers may offer you slightly less than they’d be willing to pay because they assume you will negotiate. Remember that lots of other job candidates and employees bring up the subject of pay, too. Although you may feel nervous talking about money, for your employer it’s simply part of doing business. And the reward for the momentary discomfort of asking for more money could be a renegotiated salary that you’re happier with.
2. Make money the main topic of conversation
Ask for a chance to talk about salary, and keep that the main topic. Don’t bring up other complaints about your job. If there are other issues about your job or a job offer that need to be resolved, address them in a different conversation. Otherwise, your salary negotiation may be derailed by completely unrelated discussions, and it might appear to the manager that you’re just bringing up random grievances. By focusing exclusively on salary, you show that you’re serious about money and that your request deserves the manager’s undivided attention.
3. Provide evidence
Give your manager a reason to pay you more. This reason might be something about your job—for example, maybe your responsibilities have increased or the nature of your role has changed. Or, maybe you’ve earned a degree or certification, and you’re now more highly qualified than when you entered the position. If you’re negotiating a job offer, your evidence could include statistics on tourism in your city showing that hospitality employees are in high demand, or it could include salary data from comparable positions at other hotels. The point is to show that paying you more is a sound business decision from the employer’s point of view, not just wishful thinking on your part.
4. Formulate your request ahead of time
Don’t plan to think up a request for more money on the spot; it’ll be hard to collect your thoughts if you’re nervous. Instead, decide in advance exactly how much you are asking for. For example, maybe you want to counter a salary offer with a figure that’s $8,000 higher, and you’ll be willing to accept any salary that’s at least $6,000 higher. Then in the negotiation, stick to those numbers. You’ll feel more confident about the discussion knowing that you’ve already made up your mind.
5. Don’t give an ultimatum
If you say, “I’m leaving this job unless you increase my pay by $10,000,” you’re less likely to get a sympathetic response. No one likes to feel manipulated, so don’t turn salary negotiations into a hard sell. An ultimatum usually sounds antagonistic, and you want the tone of your negotiations to be respectful and productive. Besides, managers are well aware that employees who feel they’re underpaid are likely to leave for better opportunities elsewhere, so there’s no need to say that out loud.
6. Have a plan in case the answer is no
Although you shouldn’t express it to your manager, you should have an idea of what you’ll do if the company chooses not to accommodate your request. If you have better offers lined up, your plan may be to quit your job right away and accept higher-paying work elsewhere. Alternatively, you may choose to stay at your job but begin applying to other employers. Or, you may want to focus on continuing your education so you qualify for higher-paying jobs. Whatever you plan to do, knowing that life will go on even after hearing “no” will take some of the pressure off your negotiation.