You Asked for a Raise. The Boss Said No. Here’s What to Do Next.

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Seventy-five percent of respondents to PayScale’s survey who asked for a raise received some sort of pay increase. That’s good news, but of course it also means that 25 percent of those who asked got the answer they didn’t want.

If you recently asked for a raise and found yourself among the unhappy 25 percent, your next question is probably: “What now?”

Here’s what you should do after getting turned down for a raise:

1. Take a deep breath.

Salary negotiation can bring up a lot of emotions. That’s perfectly normal. But you never want to let your feelings dictate your actions when it comes to asking for a raise. Take some time to process the conversation before deciding whether — and how — to follow up.

2. Think about what you learned during the negotiation.

Hopefully, your boss gave you some context for their decision. Maybe the company isn’t doing well financially, or the department hasn’t hit its goals. Budgets might be closed, or raises capped at a certain percentage. Perhaps you need to hit certain benchmarks before you’re in line for a raise or promotion.

If you didn’t get this information, write down your questions and save them for a possible follow-up conversation — again, once the dust has settled.

3. Do your research.

If you haven’t already, take PayScale’s Salary Survey and figure out how much you’re worth on the job market today. Hopefully, you’ll find out that your desire for a raise is in line with the market — but even if you don’t, it’s better to be working with accurate data, not hearsay.

4. Create a plan.

“If your salary negotiation didn’t work, you might be asking yourself whether it’s time to jump ship to a new gig,” writes Sean Leslie at PayScale’s Salary Negotiation Guide. “Don’t make any big moves without having an honest conversation with your manager about your role within the organization moving forward.”

Maybe, Leslie says, what you really need is a promotion: “After all, more responsibility typically means more money. What kind of goals do you have to achieve to get there? Openly and honestly communicate your career goals with your manager and together come up with a timeline and metrics to help you get there.”

If your manager isn’t receptive, or there’s no clear path to a higher paying role, the next step is to start quietly looking around for a new job. But at least you’ll do so knowing what you’re worth, and with some negotiation experience under your belt. You’ll be prepared to negotiate a starting salary that reflects your value in the market.

Tell Us What You Think

Did you successfully negotiate a raise after getting turned down? We want to hear from you. Tell us your story in the comments or join the conversation on Twitter.