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6 negotiating skills to get the salary you deserve

CareerBuilder | August 4, 2017

As the cost of living rises, it can be difficult to afford life's essentials and little luxuries. If you think you deserve a higher salary, you'll need to rely on your negotiating skills to make it happen.

If you think you deserve a higher salary in your administrative assistant, customer assistant, or other position, negotiating skills are the key to getting what you need. Keep the following six tips in mind when negotiating a pay raise:

6 Negotiating Skills to Get the Salary You Deserve


Career resources such as CareerBuilder's Explore Careers share up-to-date information about the average salaries for your job and field. Research this information to determine how your current salary stacks up.

If you're making less than the current average, you have a strong case for a pay raise. If you're making the average salary or slightly more, then you'll need to prove to your employer that you're doing an exceptional job and deserve a higher-than-average paycheck. Your research will also help you decide a fair and reasonable salary to suggest during your negotiations.

Competitiveness in Negotiations

Every competitive athlete knows what to do to win the game. You name your goals and push hard until you meet them. That same mentality is vital for successful salary negotiation.

Just like an elite athlete, you're trying to gain something in competition; in this case, it's a higher salary. Viewing this quest as such will yield better negotiation results, according to George Mason and Temple University professors Michelle Marks and Crystal Harold.

Persuasive Speaking

Your boss won't give you a pay raise simply because you ask for it. Instead, your boss needs to know why you're worth the raise. Understanding why you're an asset to the business will help you prove your worth.

Consider how long you've worked for your business and the skills you've acquired along the way. Every skill you have is worth something to your organization. Then look to the future. What do you think you will be able to bring to the business in a year's time? What about in five or 10 years? Make sure to mention all the elements that make you a valuable employee during your negotiations.

Marketing Strengths

Education is one of the key determinants of salary. If you have obtained new qualifications since your last salary review, you have a strong case for a higher wage.

According to research from the U.S. Census Bureau cited by ThoughtCo., over their lifetime, people with:

  • Bachelor's degrees earn around $900,000 more than non-degree holders
  • Master's degrees earn $400,000 more than people with bachelor's degrees
  • Doctoral degrees earn $900,000 more than people with master's degrees

During your salary negotiations, make sure you promote any new qualifications and the important takeaways your courses taught you.

Honesty and Authenticity

You might think that your employer cares about nothing but the cold hard facts of your case. But studies prove that showing a little personality can go a long way. An experiment analyzed the results of Kellogg and Stanford college students negotiating salaries over email. Researchers found that the students who added unrelated personal details to their emails negotiated higher salaries than those that included only dry facts such as their name, email address, and desired salary.

The results make sense, according to Wharton professor Adam Grant, who believes that when you open your email with personal details, it shows your employer that you're a trustworthy person. Don't be afraid to add details about your family and personal interests to your discussion.


Many people think only about negotiating their base salary. However, if your boss is unwilling to move on salary, then negotiations will reach a stalemate. It pays to be more flexible in your negotiations. Consider the other employee benefits that you might ask about during salary negotiations, including the following:

  • An upgraded health care or retirement plan
  • Extra vacation or personal days
  • The flexibility to work from home in a part-time capacity during the week

Consider what areas are important to you, and your flexibility skills could pay off.

Asking for a pay raise can be a nerve-racking experience, but you don't need to feel daunted by the idea. Approach your employer with confidence and clear facts supporting your case, and there's no reason to think that you won't get the pay raise you deserve.

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