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10 Things You Should and Shouldn’t Say in a Salary Negotiation

10 Things You Should and Shouldn’t Say in a Salary Negotiation

Getting a raise is hard. That’s why a lot of people choose to move companies to get a better job or to make more money instead. But if you are rated as an above average performer and your company is doing well, getting a raise should not be too hard.

If you find yourself in this situation, however, you will still have to make a case for it and convince your boss you really are worth the extra money. On the other hand, if you are struggling on the job, or making mistakes, then think about what you need to do to improve so a raise will be possible in the future. Whatever you do, don’t make the silly mistakes below, which will make you look and sound childish and won’t help you achieve your goal of a raise. Here’s how to get it right in a salary negotiation.

Do Say:

1. “I’ve earned it.” Say this with confidence if it’s true, and then back it up with data. If your company has a good performance management process, you should have all the documentation you need to support your claim for more money. But typically those systems are poorly used or relied upon, even if an annual or semi-annual review has been done. Your job is to keep track of your agreed objectives, and what you have achieved.

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To do this, keep a log. Each week, ideally on Friday, write down all that you accomplished that week, in short, point form notes. At the end of the quarter, go back to see what you were supposed to do, and what you still need to do before your next review. Prioritize and get anything you agreed to do done before the next review. If you weren’t awarded a four or five on your last review on a five-point scale, which mean Performing Above Expectations or Exceeding Expectations, a raise is not likely in the cards for you right now. If your last review was a three or less, which is Performing, Somewhat Performing or Needs Improvement, a raise is not going to make sense to your boss, because you clearly have improvements to make.

2. “I am ready for more challenging work.” Only say this if it’s true, of course! And only after you’ve proved you’re doing a great job in your current role. By saying you are ready to take on higher level work, or different work that will stretch you by learning new things, you show renewed commitment to the company and to your boss. That will show you are planning to stay and that a raise will keep you motivated to keep working hard, which is what your boss really wants to know. You might not get a raise right now, but it could lead to a promotion, which typically means more money.

3. “What do I need to do?” If you can’t get a raise right now and it’s not clear why, make sure you ask your boss what they need to see from you so that you will get one next time. Ask them to be very specific. Write down what they say and email it to them. Thank them for reviewing your request for a raise, and outline what they said you must do to be given a raise. Ask them to confirm it and let you know if you missed anything. If they don’t respond, keep asking until they do. That way you”ll know you have their commitment and can get on with the job.

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Don’t Say:

1. “I deserve it.” This may be true, but even if it is, you have to prove it. If it isn’t, and you know it, file this one until you can rely on facts.

2. “I work hard.” Everyone works hard, but not everyone will get a raise. In fact, even if you do work really hard and you can show results, there might not be any funds in the budget for your boss to give you a raise. Typically, each manager will have a fixed amount yearly to increase wages for their whole team, and that’s it. So making a good impression all year long is critical to standing out when it’s time for salary raises.

3. “I’ve been here a long time.” This won’t show that you deserve more money, just that you’ve been around a while. In fact, most poor performers have the longest tenure, often because they don’t get fired or have their performance evaluated. While it might seem like longevity should lead to a raise, it won’t in the private sector. Demonstrating value to the company is the only way to get a raise in today’s world.

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4. “So and So earns more than me.”
Comparing yourself to others is never a good tactic. Companies frown on people discussing salaries, and showing you know what others are paid can get your manager’s back up. The process of asking for a raise is hard enough, so keeping your boss on side is a better strategy.

If you really feel that you are underpaid for your job, do some research. Show that people in your role, in your industry, on average make more than you are now. It might take some work, as those figures are not always public, but there are lots of salary surveys out there that will let you search by job title, and location. Your boss might not accept this information, but it will show that you are serious and have done your best to make a business case for a raise. Even if you aren’t granted one, your boss will know that they’ll have to contend with this data next time and that you know your worth. If you are a great employee, they might even be worried about you leaving, which could lead to a raise unexpectedly.

5. “I guess I’ll look for another job then.” Saying this will always be a mistake. If you feel you have to move on, look for a job quietly. And when you find one, make sure you explain why you are leaving in a professional letter, which you should provide to your boss and Human Resources.

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6. “It’s not fair.” You might be right to say this. You might deserve a raise and have shown it, but still not get one. Don’t debase yourself with this childish remark. You will appear unable to take bad news, which will only make your future salary negotiations with your boss even more difficult.

7. “I quit!” Not getting a raise, especially if you feel you deserve it or you need it, is hard. But quitting is not a good idea if you need your job, which most people do. If your conversation with your boss got you hot under the collar, go cool off and think for a day or two about what was said. Were you turned down due to budget? Was it because the company is in trouble? Was there a blanket freeze so no one got a raise? Not granting a raise is often due to any one of these valid reasons, or else that your boss feels some improvement is needed in your work before a raise is due. If that’s the case, read the points above and follow the tips to be the best you can be at your job.

Featured photo credit: bradleypjohnson via flickr.com

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Last Updated on September 18, 2019

11 Hard Skills That Will Land You More Career Opportunities

11 Hard Skills That Will Land You More Career Opportunities

Are you looking to move up the career ladder? Or maybe you’re tired of having a “job” and want to start looking for a more permanent career?

Whatever your motivation, you are going to have to learn some new and different hard skills to broaden your opportunities. After all, there’s a very famous quote that says:

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.” – Albert Einstein

While the insanity part doesn’t really fit here, the overall message is a good one. If you are looking for a different result (career advancement, more money or even a career instead of a job), it’s up to you to make it happen. This is both the good news and bad news!

The good news is that because it’s up to you, you have complete control over it happening. The bad news is that change is hard. Humans are creatures of habit, that’s why we develop routines, and anything that disrupts that routine causes us anxiety. And we will do almost anything to get rid of that anxiety. The overweight person will calm their anxiety by eating that doughnut, the smoker will light up a cigarette to avoid anxiety.

What we want to do with this article is to give you the hard skills you’ll need to reduce that anxiety so you can move up that corporate ladder, make more money or have career instead of just a “job.”

The following hard skills are essential to learn if you want to advance your career. They may not be easy to take up, but definitely worth your effort of learning:

1. Cloud Computing

“Simply put, cloud computing is the delivery of computing services—servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics, intelligence and more—over the Internet “the cloud” to offer faster innovation, flexible resources, and economies of scale. You typically pay only for cloud services you use, helping lower your operating costs, run your infrastructure more efficiently, and scale as your business needs change.” Microsoft[1]

There are many different jobs available in the cloud computing world today. They range from architects and developers to data scientists, security pros. Each job is its own specialty and requires a high level of specification for advancement.

This is definitely a hard skill that requires education. But if the tech world and computers are your thing you can make cloud computing a lucrative career.

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2. Data Mining and Statistical Analysis

Again, these are highly specialized fields. Data mining is defined as using large sets of data to look for anomalies and other patterns that can be used to predict future behavior.

Amazon is probably the best known company to use data mining. Have you ever noticed that when you buy something at Amazon, you’ll see a little ad at the bottom that says “customers who bought this also bought…”and it lists 2-3 other items? All of that information comes from data mining, by examining the millions of sales amazon makes they can predict that if you buy item #1 there is a high likelihood that you will buy one of the other items too. T

his not only increases sales for Amazon, but it also serves as a reminder for you that you may need these additional items for your project. This is very valuable information and has a wide range of uses. Although it has a bad reputation and evil sounding name, it is a very useful tool for maximizing productivity and sales.

3. Data Management

All companies today deal with a ton of data! Being able to manage that data in an efficient manor is not only highly prized, but a necessity.

We all have these things on our desks called computers. Unless there is a need for a paper copy, almost all of our data is computerized. Meaning that, in theory it is all at our fingertips. Being able to organize that data so that it’s easily and quickly retrievable is why computers are replacing filing cabinets!

However, just like the old fashion filing cabinet, data management on a computer is only good if it’s well organized. You want to make sure that you are keeping your data well organized so that it’s easy to find when needed. This is a skill that comes easily to some people (are you a person that makes lists? Good!) but with others it will be a skill that needs to be practices. Make sure that this is a discipline you master.

4. Scheduling

Being able to make and keep to a schedule is a very useful tool in both business and life. Effective scheduling means that you can prioritize projects, understand the tools needed to get the job done on time and that you are organized enough to lead people.

An important point here is to write things down! Whether it’s in an old fashion daily or weekly organizer or in a PDA. Have a copy of your schedule available at your fingertips at all times.

5. Financial Skills

These are especially important when looking for that promotion. The higher up the ladder you go, the more you’ll have to deal with things like accounting, budgeting, financial planning and cash flow management.

While you may not need to be an expert at all of these, you should have a good grasp of all of them. This is where taking a few night classes at your local community college is a good idea. You don’t need to become an expert, but brushing up on these skills will help you tremendously.

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6. Research Skills

These are important in all aspects of life, but especially in your work-life.

Are you looking for that first job out of school? Nothing impresses a boss or hiring manager more than someone who has researched the company. Trust me, they deal with people walking in off the street everyday looking for a job, but managers and owners need to see the value in hiring (or promoting) you.

So do your research and have some company specific questions ready to ask. Show that you are interested in working for that company or that position and not just “a” job or the “promotion” because you have seniority or need the money.

If it’s a promotion that you are after, never bad mouth the previous occupant. Instead pick out an example that he/she was good at and explain how you would like to use or expand that policy and how it would enhance the policy changes you’d like to make.

If it’s a new job you’re going for, then make sure to have some company specific questions ready to show that you have done your homework for the new position.

7. Marketing Skills

While marketing a companies products or services has always been a highly sought after skill. In today’s world, it can take on several different forms.

Some of the marketing skills that are highly sought after today include, SEO, Search Engine Optimization, SEM, Search Engine Marketing and marketing campaign management. Familiarity with Google Analytics as well as Word Press are also valuable.

While traditional marketing and branding were focused on advertising and selling. Almost all marketing efforts now a days are focused on the internet.

8. Network Security Specialist

Again, this is a highly skilled position that requires specialized training. But the amount of data that all companies store is significant, and if that data is leaked or stolen, it can costs them millions of dollars in both lost revenue and lawsuits.

So, if you have an interest in network security you will find the field both lucrative and stable.

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9. Communication Skills

At first glance, communication skills may not look like it fits into the category of “Hard Skills” that can help you succeed. But in this ever shrinking world where companies can do business from almost anywhere, communication is more and more important.

Are you bilingual? It really doesn’t matter what language you speak, there’s a company out there looking for someone who speaks that language.

10. Computer Programming

I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty sure that computers are going to be around for a while! As both the hardware and software get more advanced, the need for computer programming is only going to increase.

11. Graphic Design

As of 2018, there were 4.37 million new websites launched.[2] A good number of them will fail because they just aren’t interesting enough visually. The use of templates and replicated websites is only making the problem worse.

Part of the way Google ranks sites is through originality, this almost ensures that replicated sites will never get ranked through Google. So the more original your site is, the more likely people will visit and actually spend time there.

That is what a good graphic designer does. Takes your basic idea and turns it into a website that people actually want to visit.

Embrace the Anxiety That Comes with Change

You know it’s going to be there, you know that you’ll want to give up as you’re learning these new skills but, you’ll also know that the end result is worth the journey.

Here’s a little trick when you’re feeling overwhelmed:

Have you ever met an ex-smoker who was sorry they quit? An ex-drinker or drug user that said life was much better before they quit? These people have gone through some of the most difficult challenges humans can go through including weeks, if not, months of intense physical withdrawal symptoms. They did it because they knew that the pain and anxiety they would experience would ultimately get them to a much better life.

Now what was that complaint you had about attending night-school?

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This is the part everyone hates, everyone thinks night-school, adult education and just generally giving up family and/or spare time. While those are certainly possible ways to develop the necessary skills, they aren’t the only way.

You’ll want to check with your human resources department because depending on the company, a certain degree maybe required in order to even be considered for a position. In those cases, night-school, on-line or some other form of adult education maybe your best route.

But as long as a degree isn’t required, then your options are wide open.

Let’s just say that you’re a sales person interested in becoming the sales manager but, the territory you’ve been given will never produce the sales figures that would make you stand out as a good candidate for sales manager. So how about you start your own side business (don’t compete with your company), but let’s say you enjoy golf.

In this day and age, there are plenty of places that will teach you how to sell products on-line and even set you up with your own website. So you start a site selling golf equipment and accessories (don’t worry, you won’t even have to carry inventory or worry about shipping).

Now, when that sales manager spot opens up, you can explain that even though other salespeople had better numbers than you, it had nothing to do with your sales ability, it was more of a consequence of the territory your were given.

And to prove it, you brought in some information about a side business, you started showing that you’re on target for a sales growth rate of 30% this year. And because you had to do all of the marketing for the business, you came up with some marketing strategies that you can bring to the new job (built-in experience).

The Bottom Line

We’ve put together these 11 hard skills as a way to give yourself a “leg up” on the competition. We’ve tried to make this a mixture of both skills that require a great deal of training, and also ones that you can work on and develop by yourself.

We know that not everyone is cut out to be a cloud computing expert, but we also know that working on and having good scheduling skills will make you a much more desirable candidate for the position!

We also don’t want you to discount the idea of a “side hustle“. Especially for people new to the workforce, having a business that you have started and run successfully shows potential employers that you have initiative, scheduling skills and ambition which can put you well ahead of your competition!

As usual, we hope you found this article both enjoyable and informative. If you did, may we ask that you share it with your family and friends through social media. It really does help us and is greatly appreciated!

More Skill to Help Advance Your Career

Featured photo credit: Kyle Sterk via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Microsoft Azure: Cloud Computing
[2] Netcraft: December 2018 Web Server Survey

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