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Mistakes When Negotiating Salary

8 Things Not to Do When You're Asking For a Raise

In addition to Tax Day, there's another big occasion happening today. It's Equal Pay Day, a day that us women aren't exactly celebrating. That's because we're far and away from making equal pay to our male counterparts. Let's make some progress by making plans to ask for a raise, but before you do so, keep these salary negotiating mistakes in mind when negotiating your salary bump.

  • Don't bring up your co-worker's salary. Sure, it's not fair that a certain co-worker is making more and you may feel that you're more deserving of a higher salary, but let's not turn this into a "he said, she said." First of all, you may not have all your facts right, and bringing up your colleague's salary will put your manager into an uncomfortable position. What you should do is compare what you're making to the industry average. Research figures and get them from sites like, or you can even reach out to your alma mater to see if they have stats on what the alumni are making. Using the industry average will reflect well on you and will show your boss that you've been doing your research.
  • Don't make it personal. The reason for your raise will be professional, so keep that in mind when you're asking for more. Your student loans may be more than you can handle or maybe your husband recently lost his job so you're falling behind on your bills, but that's not the reason that will get you your raise. There are lines you shouldn't cross into personal territory, and this is one of them. What you need to do is write a list of your wins at work, which will show your boss that you do deserve that increase in salary.
  • Don't get emotional. If things are not going your way or if you feel that your employer is wronging you, don't get emotional. Oftentimes, the reaction you have when you're emotional is probably more intense than if you had given the situation some time to think over. Collect yourself and don't let your boss see that you're upset. Instead, take some time to think it over after your meeting to carefully craft your next move.
  • Don't be negative. Don't start complaining or whining about how unfair your wages are. Instead, take the more positive approach and show your boss why you think you deserve more. Being assertive will earn your manager's respect.
  • Don't underprepare. Before having this talk with your boss, make sure that you've done a lot of prep. Do research so you know what figure to aim for and write out a list of accomplishments that you'd like to mention, so you won't forget any details.

Read on for more.

  • Don't respond immediately if you're unsure. If your boss offers you an alternative and not the raise you're asking for, and if you have some doubt about it, don't immediately agree to it. Instead, ask her if you can take some time to think about it and let her know that you'll get back to her about her offer soon.
  • Don't be inflexible. If your company doesn't have the resources or the budget to give you the raise you want right now, there can be other arrangements you can make with your boss in the meantime. Perhaps more paid time off days or the opportunity to work from home — find out what your manager is willing to give you in lieu of a raise. You can even ask for more training and map out what you need to do to be considered for a raise a few months down the line.
  • Don't give ultimatums. People don't respond to threats very well and your manager will not be very happy if you give her an ultimatum. If you have other job opportunities, don't wave them in her face — just gracefully move on if you have better chance of advancing elsewhere. Be sure to read our tips on how to quit your job with grace.

And if you're job hunting, here are some ways you can negotiate your salary.

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Join The Conversation
NegotiatingSalary NegotiatingSalary 5 years
I definitely agree with the spirit of this post. I would love to see Equal Pay Day become as large and well-known an event as Breast Cancer Awareness Day.   Both of these are major issues for women, and the two are actually interrelated. Women who earn higher salaries are more likely to be diagnosed and treated early for breast cancer.   It would be quite an amazing turn of events if every year on Equal Pay Day, women around the country came to work and asked their bosses for a pay raise. How long would it take to close the glass ceiling salary gap if women started doing that?   On my Negotiating Salary blog, I have written a series of articles  that I think might be helpful for women who want to learn more tips and tricks for negotiating a higher salary. Women and men have different negotiating styles and that needs to be taken into consideration. Here's a link to the blog post
Assistant-Community-Manager Assistant-Community-Manager 5 years
Great tips - I'm sending this to a friend who is trying to figure out a raise negotiating situation.
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