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When Salary Negotiation Doesn’t Work Out, Here’s What to Do Next

Mustering up the courage to negotiate your salary may be a bit less nerve-wracking if you consider the fact that 75 percent of professionals who ask for a raise actually get one, according to PayScale’s Salary Negotiation Guide.
salary negotiation
Image Credit: Daniel Moyle/Flickr

As reassuring as that statistic may be, things don’t always go as planned. If you’re one of the unlucky few whose salary negotiation didn’t turn out the way you had hoped, here are some things to consider so that you can move forward successfully and be better prepared for the next go-around.

  1. First things first, don’t take it personally. The company may be going through financial hardships, budgetary shifts, or something else unrelated to you. Be proud of the fact that you even had the courage to negotiate your salary in the first place — that’s a huge achievement in and of itself. As the lyric goes, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again,” but maybe next time do some investigating to see if the company is in a position to offer raises, first.
  1. Did you ask for a raise before you actually earned it? Be honest with yourself on this one and really consider whether or not you earned a raise at all, because earning a raise is very different than feeling as though you deserve a raise. Sure, we all feel as though we should get paid more, but that’s not enough to warrant a pay hike — if that was the case, then raises would be handed out left and right. If your employer provides you with some areas of improvement and/or a timeframe of when your next review will happen, then listen to that feedback, and use that time to work your you-know-what off and prove that you’re worth of a raise the second time around.
  1. Did you ask for too much money? Before you enter into any type of salary negotiation, it’s wise to research your current market value so that you have a clear understanding of the salary range that’s appropriate. Having this knowledge will also prevent you from asking for too little or too much money, based on the market. Confidence is one thing, but you need to be able to back it up with facts and figures.
  1. Rejection may be a tough pill to swallow, but it’s also a potential lesson. Finance expert and founder of LexION Capital Elle Kaplan tells Glamour: “By redefining failure to focus on the experience and success gained through the process, you can remove the power that rejection tries so desperately to hold over you.” She goes on to say, “The overlooked upside of a rejection is that it’s always a chance to improve and learn going forward,” so even if you weren’t granted that raise or promotion, “you did gain valuable negotiation experience for your future endeavors.” If you fail to see the silver lining in the situation, you may grow resentful of your employer and end up hating your job, simply because your feelings were hurt.
  1. Learn how to talk the talk. Wouldn’t it be nice if there were pre-written scripts for pretty much every type of salary negotiation scenario? Well, consider it your lucky day, because there are! Whether your potential employer is offering you a salary that’s less than what you’re worth, you’re trying to negotiate benefits, and/or you recently discovered that you’re being underpaid in your current role, these scripts have got you covered. You want to be strategic in how you phrase things in your meeting, because stating that you want or deserve more money is definitely not the way to go. Follow these 10 commandments of salary negotiation to help you figure out the best strategy to use when asking for a raise.

Hopefully these tips will help you see the positive side of a seemingly negative situation so that you are stronger, wiser, and better prepared the next time you’re ready to talk money.

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Leah Arnold-Smeets
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