Melissa Lambarena of NerdWallet
AP – The pandemic-related recession has altered many job descriptions. For Haley Jones, a 24-year-old resident of Michigan, the coronavirus changed the needs of her company, and as she adapted to meet them, her responsibilities were no longer confined to her marketing specialist role.
“I graduated with a marketing degree, no medical experience at all, and I ended up having to scrub in at our surgery centre and help patients get prepped for anaesthesia,” Jones said.
After adding those kinds of new hats, Jones felt that her responsibilities had outgrown her entry-level salary and position, so she requested more compensation.
Your role may also merit a salary discussion, even in uncertain times. Here are some strategies to help you achieve the ideal salary.
RESEARCH THE MARKET
Understanding the market for your job is critical, according to Lindsey Pollak, author of the upcoming book Recalculating: Navigate Your Career Through the Changing World of Work.
Pollak suggested networking with professional associations in your industry and asking about the appropriate salary range.
TALLY UP YOUR CONTRIBUTIONS
If you’re working remotely, Pollak suggested being more self-promotional about big wins. With many distractions in the pandemic, your boss may not know the extent of your contributions.
Jones created a slideshow presentation with links to her work, a list of tasks completed and her overall impact on the company. Her boss shared the presentation with others weighing in on her salary request.
Dive as far back into your contributions as is necessary or gather evidence up to the last annual or midyear review. And be as specific as possible.
LAY THE GROUNDWORK FOR THE CONVERSATION
Be strategic as you plan the conversation. Gauge your level of confidence at every step.
— Put it on your supervisor’s radar. Give your boss a general but serious reason for the meeting. Pollak suggested saying that you want to have a “career conversation” about your role and future at the company.
— Time it right. Don’t plan such a conversation after the company announces a terrible quarter or when your boss is in a bad mood, said Executive Coach and author of the book Get Paid What You’re Worth Joel Garfinkle.
— Practice until you’re confident. Jones built confidence by rehearsing in front of her mirror and loved ones.
— Be intentional with your environment. If it’s a video call, use sticky notes to remember key points. In an office environment, Jones leaned on slides and hard copies to move the conversation along.
If you need further guidance, Pollak suggested connecting with a college’s career centre for advice, whether that’s your alma mater or a community college. Even if you never attended college, your local community college may offer resources.
MAINTAIN CONTROL OF THE CONVERSATION
Don’t allow emotions or nerves to steer the conversation away from your goal. Remember three key points for your discussion:
— Lead with gratitude. Jones began by thanking her employer for many learning opportunities, then pivoted to her excitement about the company’s future and her role in it.
— Know when to stop talking. Get comfortable with silence. “Say the amount you want and then stop talking,” Pollak said. Don’t negotiate against yourself by saying that you’d like an increase, but you’re willing to settle for less.
— Focus on the value for your employer. Don’t phrase your request around reasons why you need a raise or promotion. Be aware of economic impacts to your company and its priorities, and keep the focus on how you’re saving the company money or contributing to its bottom line.
BE PREPARED FOR THE RESPONSE
If your employer can’t meet your request this time, all isn’t lost. You have promoted your work and carved out the path for the next conversation, according to Garfinkle. You can also consider negotiating for non-monetary benefits.
If your employer is willing to offer a pay increase or an alternative, get it in writing. Send a thankful email to your boss summarising the conversation and alert them that you’ll be following up on the next steps.
In the case of a firm “no” or “not right now”, let your boss know that you would greatly appreciate the chance to revisit the conversation in the future.
Following up is key with any response. Jones followed up twice in a month, once via email and another time in person. Eventually, she was promoted to marketing director and received more than the maximum amount she requested.