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Creativity Is Human.

Many people who deserve a raise are also the least likely to ask for one. In fact, go to any company and you’ll find at least one workhorse who completely underestimates his or her own worth.

If that sounds like you, it’s time to talk with your employer about your contributions to the organization and how those contributions are affecting the bottom line. While discussing pay can be downright frightening, it shouldn’t keep you from asking for a salary increase.

Try these nine negotiation strategies to make the discussion that much easier:

1. Don’t do it.

No, that’s not a typo. Before the big ask, you need to do a reality check and ask yourself, “Am I giving the company what it wants?” Employers want productive, enthusiastic, responsive, and cooperative staff. If that’s not yet you, then the timing isn’t right to ask for raise.

Here’s the thing, employers who see value in an employee will always be more receptive to such a request. So, wait until you’ve crushed a project or gotten a great performance review before asking for a pay bump. Otherwise, you reduce the chances of hearing, “Sure, we can do that.”

2. Gather a little data.

With any sort of negotiations, you want to come from a data driven place. For one, it’ll help you come up with a much more realistic number than if you based it on what you think you’re worth. You need evidence to support your request.x

Check Glassdoor, Payscale, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Most salary sites will let you narrow down the data by state and city, but you should also do a Google search of recent job posts to see what your position makes at other companies. There’s nothing wrong with passion, but you still want to support it with data.

3. Know what you’re worth.

Knowing what others make in a similar position can be useful for your salary talks, but it won’t likely clinch the deal. You’ll also want to tie your work to a specific value for the company. If you can, calculate the monetary benefits, like cost savings or revenue as a result of your work. If not, then focus on special achievements, initiatives, and process improvements during your tenure.

Related: How Volunteering Can Help You Land a Job 

4. Take a low-stakes stab.

When the stakes are high, people have a tendency to put their foot in their mouth. To prepare for the discussion, take a practice run by calling up your internet provider, bank, or credit card company to negotiate a lower rate — that or try haggling for additional services at the same rate. This “low-stakes” negotiation gives you the opportunity to really exercise those bargaining muscles.

5. Schedule a meeting.

This should go without saying, but don’t blurt out, “I want a raise,” the next time you see your boss. Take a more tactful approach by scheduling a one-on-one meeting. And when the time comes, make sure to show up on time and with all your talking points prepared, including the reasons why you’re asking for the raise.

6. Gather the facts.

An explanation for a salary increase often goes a long way to getting you close to what you want, especially if what you want is more than market price. Share all the research you did in support of your request. Explain exactly why you’re worth the money. Get down to the specifics to appear as objective as possible.

7. Don’t make demands, ultimatums, or comparisons.

You do yourself no favors by making demands, ultimatums, or comparisons. Nor is it helpful to reason that you need the money to survive. Employers don’t dole out raises just to help you afford the cost of your lifestyle or because you found out a coworker makes more than you. And if you march in the office and say you’ll quit if you don’t get a pay bump, your boss may just call your bluff.

8. Don’t apologize.

Talking about money is uncomfortable. There’s no getting around that. As a result, people will try to smooth things over by apologizing for bringing the topic up. Don’t feel bad for negotiating on your own behalf. When you apologize, you actually signal to your employer that you’re willing back down, which just increases the chances of a “no.”

9. Get ready to wait.

If you think you’ll get an answer on the spot, think again. Rarely will employers agree to a salary increase without conducting a little research of their own. They’ll also need to make sure there’s room in the budget to even offer you a raise. Just make sure to leave the meeting with an understanding of when you’ll hear back with a decision.

There’s no guarantee that you’ll get the raise. After all, budgets can get strict. But if you never try to negotiate for a higher salary, you do yourself a disservice. Just make sure to gather the data, get to know your value, and master the art of timing. No matter the outcome, the effort is worth it.

If you’d like to learn more about negotiating a salary increase, or would like to explore your options for other employment, please let us know. Our team would be more than happy to discuss what we can do to help you reach your career goals.