It’s a new year, and yet your job is still paying you what it did 3 or 5 years ago? While it sounds as simple as marching down your supervisor’s or employer’s office and demanding a fatter paycheck, there are social rules that need to be accounted for. It’s important to understand the fact that employers don’t just hand out pay increases or bonuses to people who ask for it. The right dialogue wherein both parties involved get what they want must happen before anyone’s pay rate increases. If negotiation skills aren’t your strongest suit, here’s five tips that will help you become a good negotiator:


Zero in on a Number

If you’re asking for a pay raise, you need to know the asking rate for your job title in your market and in your neighborhood. The asking rate for a software engineer in California will significantly vary from the same job title and set of responsibilities in Nebraska or Iowa. If you fail to determine your professional value before walking into a salary negotiation, you’re basically giving the HR representative or company executive control over the meeting. A quick Google search on third-party websites, like Payscale or Glassdoor, can reveal pertinent data about median salaries in your respective industry and location.


Note Your Key Strengths

A number without any facts to back it up will appear anecdotal and won’t hold much weight during a negotiation. Know why you are that much valuable to a company. Are you the only one in your department who can handle a specific set of tasks? Perhaps you bring in more revenue to the company than anyone else? Take note of key skills that you possess, which have value in the workplace, be it soft skills such as communication or technical skills like database management. As you grow professionally, you add more skills and qualifications that you didn’t have on your resume when you initially applied for the job. Your pay rate should reflect this growth.


Get Some Training

Seeing as how thousand of dollars are at stake, it makes sense to invest a fraction of that money to honing your bargaining skills through a negotiation training program. These programs will help you achieve better outcomes in both formal and informal dialogues. It helps bolster confidence through tested and proven techniques for managing emotions and effectively influencing others. It also helps the employee build a more positive and productive relationship with his/her employer by creating value and producing win-win outcomes. A negotiations training program typically covers topics including identifying the interests, priorities, and objectives of all parties involved, maximizing opportunities through pre-negotiation prep, and dealing with different kinds of people.


Get Into the Right Physical and Mental State

Just before you walk into the room, go into the office bathroom and try to do a “power pose” with your hands on your hips and a straight, confident gait. Doing so boosts your testosterone levels, which helps you become more confident and lowers stress so you’re not all tensed up when you enter the negotiation. Drinking some coffee or any other caffeinated beverage has also been reported to help people become more resilient to persuasion tactics that many experienced managers pull during negotiations.


Prepare For Rejection

Being set on a pay increase can lead to frustration and even the sudden impulse to resign from your post in the event that your request for an increase be rejected. Avoid any sort of meltdown by tempering your expectations and mentally preparing for the word “NO”. Gracefully accepting a rejection can even help in accelerating a pay increase or even a job promotion in the future.


Final Thoughts

Negotiating a higher pay rate is part of any professional career. There are many things in life including salary that aren’t just handed out; they’re meant to be intensely pursued. Use the five tips above to help you get the pay increase you want and deserve.