How to Negotiate a Raise or a Promotion at Your First Job

Negotiating your salary can be a scary process. Use these tips to enter into negotiations fully prepared to get the compensation you deserve.

Salary negotiation is a delicate give-and-take process. To master the fascinating art of negotiation, job seekers must first understand that they may have to give something up to get something better in return. Easier said than done, you’re probably thinking. New grads in particular make the mistake of assuming their lack of experience can’t bring them lucrative positions. Of course, they’re wrong! No matter where you are in your career, here are some simple tips for how to ask for a raise for new grads – or anyone – can use to negotiate a raise or promotion.

Have realistic expectations

First, let’s get something straight. The era of lifetime employment that ends with a substantial retirement fund at the age of 65 is over. Today’s modern work environment is based on “gigs.” Employees are often compelled to adapt and constantly learn new skills and move to different roles throughout their careers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 40 percent of people in today’s workforce change jobs annually. Surveys show that the new generation of workers might change their jobs six to seven times between the ages of 20 and 30. Basically, this tells us that every time you switch jobs, you have more chances to bargain better salary incentives.

Don’t let HR intimidate you

Many job seekers are terrified with Human Resources representatives. Remember, just because they’re in charge of the hiring process, doesn’t mean they’re not willing to negotiate. Potential workers have one huge advantage over HR – themselves. It’s expensive to hire new people over and over again. The effect on morale, training time and loss of institutional knowledge may cost a company $150K to replace an employee who makes $60K per year. Thus, it’s a lot better to offer them a five or 10 percent raise rather than risk losing them.

Keep score

Write down all your achievements in a notebook, and keep track of everything you’ve accomplished for the company you’re currently working for. This should include deadlines you’ve met, sales you’ve closed, productivity you’ve increased, extra hours you’ve put in, and anything else you can think of. When it’s time to ask for a raise, you should be able to substantiate your claims. HR will most likely ask why you think you deserve the raise, so it’s important to have all the right arguments to get what you deserve.

Know your worth

Not many people know their worth in a business negotiation, so rather than take a chance at bargaining for themselves and leveraging their knowledge, they choose to remain quiet. It is important to discern where you stand in a company if you want to land a raise. The more valuable you are the higher chances you have to leverage that value and get a few extra perks. There are a lot of great resources, like this one on Ladders, for you to compare your salary.

Promotions are always negotiation opportunities

That’s right! Getting a promotion (or a raise) makes room for further negotiations. Employees (who want more and are willing to take risks) shouldn’t be afraid of rejecting a first offer for extra incentives. A lot of people fail to understand that hiring managers want them to negotiate; sadly, very few people do it. Why should you let this opportunity slide away, when you can make the most of it? By negotiating, you show determination and fortitude, traits that are so difficult to find in today’s modern workforce.

Asking for a raise or promotion at your first job can be difficult, but pays dividends in the long run. The best person to get you what you deserve is you, so give yourself credit where credit is due and show HR everything you have to offer. Your bank account will thank you later.