The post-COVID economy has created an incredibly tight job market. This gives you leverage with your employer. As a result, you could be facing the ideal time to negotiate a raise.

Yet, most people fail to push for additional pay. One study found that just 37% of people have asked their current employer for a raise. Whether you should inquire about a fatter paycheck depends on the situation. But your chances (and your confidence) improves when you know how to negotiate.

With that in mind, here are five tips for getting the most out of your next raise request:

Understand the Current Market for Your Talent

What should you ask for when you approach your supervisors for a raise? What’s your minimum acceptable offer? What’s your sky-high, I-can’t-believe-they-went-for-it amount?

Answering these questions requires research. Going into the discussions, arm yourself with the best information you can about the market for your skills. Understand what companies are paying for your position. That way, you’ll have an objective measure to compare with any bid you receive.

Feel Out the Situation Before You Ask

Would you ask someone to marry you on the first date? Probably not. The same basic rules apply here. You want to build up to your raise request, beginning the process months ahead of time and building a foundation for a successful argument.

In other words, don’t rely on a sneak attack. Hint around the subject, getting an idea of what’s possible. (For instance, if your company is having financial troubles, there’s no point in asking.) At the same time, court allies that will support your bid — especially your direct manager. Identify the decision-makers and get them on your side before you “pop the question.”

Make a Value Argument

More money would be great … for you, anyway. But you need to offer something in return. Your pitch should be framed in a way that makes it clear that the company is getting the better side of the deal.

You can do this in several ways:

  • Explain how you provide more than the average person doing your job
  • Offer to expand your duties/responsibilities
  • Highlight your long-term potential by pointing to skills like leadership and innovation

Don’t Get Personal

Obviously, you’re deeply emotionally invested in the outcome of the negotiation. An increase in pay means a lot to you. However, you’re less likely to succeed if you let those feelings burst out.

Instead, stay calm, whatever the response from your supervisors. Remember: turning down a raise request isn’t a personal attack directed at you. You managers might face budgetary restraints that you don’t know about. Remain professional and stick to rational arguments.

Know Your Options

They say the best deals come when you’re ready to walk away. But what are you walking into? If the negotiation turns against you, you don’t want to take a short stroll off a career cliff.

Rather, look around at the other possibilities available before you ask for your raise. Know if you have other options. This will let you gauge how hard you can push and what you set as your minimum acceptable offer.

If you do get to the point where you’re fielding other offers, a staffing firm can help you understand your options. A top recruiter, like SmartTalent, will give you the industry insight you need to maximize your earnings potential.

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