Negotiating for a raise -- or a job

(1) Before you enter a negotiation, find out if there are restrictions on what you can get. For instance, if a job is advertised at a certain title and salary, some companies will not negotiate beyond what is formally posted. If your company has a limit on raises, you can't get more unless your boss jumps through a lot of hoops.

(2) Know what's important to the company and to your boss. I once heard a story about a person who was hired to promote a line of products. He was super-successful! Then he found out that the company just kept those products as a loss-leader for image. They had no desire to expand that product line. Never mind what's rational. Companies reward people for doing what the company wants. If the company's values conflict with yours, you have a decision to make. Rick Jarow and Carolyn Myss both address this topic.

(3) Set out what you have accomplished (or what you CAN accomplish, if you're applying) that contributes to the bottom line of the company or division. Or, in other words, how has your work helped your boss get his or her accomplishment? Show how your job has increased sales and (hopefully) profit, saved time and money, or somehow added value. If you have a job with no measurable contribution to the bottom line, start thinking about a career change.

(4) Find out your boss's negotiating style. Some bosses like people to challenge them. Some prefer written documents, others face-to-face conversation, others e-mail. Does your boss need approval from a higher authority to give you a good raise? If so, you need to make it easy for your boss to make a case for you. Similarly, when applying for a job, make your case in the cover letter so the boss can go to his/her boss and "sell" you.

(5) Decide your own bottom line. What's your market value? Are you ready to move for more money or more pay? Do you have other options, if you are job-hunting? Don't threaten (unless that's your organization's culture; in some universities, for instance, you need to show another offer in order to get a raise for yourself). If you know your bottom line, you will have the quiet confidence that communicates nonverbally. If you are not marketable, do the best you can with this go-round and then begin to consider a career or job change. Or find ways that you can become more marketable on the job, such as courses or classes.

Author's Bio: 

Cathy Goodwin, MBA, PhD, author, speaker, career coach
EwS 9 Magic Keys to Career Freedom Free monthly Career Freedom Ezine:
Visit or call 505-534-4294