Whether you’re considering accepting a position with a new company or looking to grow within your current firm, salary negotiation can be a stressful experience. It’s easy to underestimate the value of your skills and shy away from asking for a raise – even when you deserve it.  Negotiating benefits, sick/vacation days, and schedule flexibility can also be included when asking for a higher salary. Above all, it is important to reach an agreement that recognizes your value as an employee.

Calculating your worth

The first step in successfully negotiating a salary is understanding the factors that contribute to that figure. Education level, job title, and seniority are the three aspects most commonly taken into consideration. During the negotiation process, it is your job to highlight skills and achievements that are more valuable than the aforementioned factors. Companies are interested in hiring and/or promoting employees who are a clear value-add, even if some qualifications are missing.

Online services such as Glassdoor.com provide salary estimates for numerous jobs, as well as the option to calculate your ideal salary based on job title, location, and years of relevant experience. Recruiters and career coaches are also valuable resources when looking to negotiate a new salary. Recruiters have a strong understanding of the current market conditions, as well as what employers are offering employees with qualifications similar to yours. On the other hand, a career coach builds a more personal relationship with their client and can help identify the goals of the negotiation session as well as developing the skills needed to achieve those goals.

How to stop devaluing yourself

Surpassing the mental roadblock of devaluing yourself is easier said than done. Some may be hesitant to ask for a higher salary because it is unfair or unnecessary. When you begin to feel this way, it is important to take a step back and evaluate these feelings. One strategy to better acknowledge your value as an employee is keeping a list of work-related tasks you complete daily. Recording these small tasks adds to your track record of hard work and dedication, which are qualities worthy of a raise. Whether your job is entry level, high-profile, or somewhere in between, you fulfill a particular role in your organization that necessary. Reflecting on this fact is a good starting point in appreciating your full value as an employee.

Be professional in your approach

After you have mentally prepared yourself for the negotiation process, gather a few concise talking points to touch on during the meeting. It is best to avoid using emotion to convey your argument, so creating an effective plan for your meeting or interview ensures that you make the most of it. Hopefully, your boss not only has the company’s interests in mind but yours as well. However, if the salary seems to be non-negotiable, try increasing other factors such as the number of vacation days, benefits, and weekly schedule. While these aren’t necessarily as impactful as a pay raise, they are viable alternatives that may better your quality of life. Finally, salary negotiation can only be successful if you are willing to be flexible. Even if you do not leave with the exact number you were hoping for, that does not make the negotiation unsuccessful. The character you exhibit in asking for a raise may lead to other opportunities for career advancement in the future.