Feeling Undervalued? Here is How to Negotiate Your Worth!


Negotiating salary and benefits can feel intimidating, especially in a competitive job market, but you can do it!

Negotiating Salary and Benefits

The job market might be competitive, but that doesn’t mean you have to settle for less than you deserve. Whether you are thinking about a raise or promotion at your current company or a new opportunity elsewhere, feeling comfortable negotiating your salary and benefits helps to ensure you’re properly compensated for your skills and contributions. This guide will provide you with the tools and strategies you need to confidently advocate for your worth, helping you secure a compensation package that reflects your value to your employer.

Negotiating with Your Current Employer

Loyalty and quality work deserve recognition and fair compensation. If you’ve consistently delivered strong results and are a valuable asset to your team, don’t be afraid to initiate a conversation about a raise or improved benefits. Here’s how to approach it:

  • Do Your Research: Know your market value! Utilize salary comparison websites like Salary.com, Glassdoor or Payscale to understand the typical compensation range for your position, experience level, and location.
  • Gather Evidence: Document your accomplishments and contributions to the company. Metrics, positive client feedback, a strong safety record, a strong quality control record, or exceeding project goals are all great information to gather.
  • Schedule a Meeting: Request a face-to-face meeting with your manager or supervisor to discuss your career goals and compensation.
  • Be Prepared to Negotiate: Have a specific salary range in mind, along with alternative benefits you might be interested in, such as additional paid time off or increased contributions to your retirement plan or stock options.
  • Focus on Value: Frame the conversation around the value you bring to the company. Highlight your achievements and how your contributions have positively impacted the bottom line.
  • Be Professional and Confident: Maintain a professional and respectful demeanor throughout the negotiation. Your confidence will speak volumes.

Negotiating Salary and Benefits with a New Employer

Congratulations on landing an offer! Now it’s time to ensure the compensation package reflects your skills and experience. Here’s how to navigate this exciting stage:

  • Don’t Jump at the First Offer: Take some time to review the offer carefully. Consider all aspects including salary, benefits, vacation days, company culture, and any signing bonuses.
  • Research Industry Standards: Similar to negotiating with your current employer, research typical compensation packages for the position and location using some of the same resources above.
  • Be Polite But Firm: Express your enthusiasm for the opportunity, but be clear about your compensation expectations. You can use the initial offer as a springboard for negotiation.
  • Highlight Your Uniqueness: Reiterate the specific skills and experience you bring to the table that make you a perfect fit for the role.
  • Be Willing to Compromise: Negotiation is a two-way street. While you should advocate for your needs, be prepared to find common ground. Perhaps a slightly lower salary can be offset by additional benefits or a quicker path to promotion.

Remember: Negotiation is a skill, and like any skill, it improves with practice. Don’t be discouraged if the initial conversation doesn’t yield your desired outcome. Be polite, persistent, and professional, and you’ll increase your chances of securing a compensation package that reflects your true worth.

Should You Use a Competing Offer to Negotiate?

This is a tricky question, and the answer depends on your specific situation and company culture. Here are some things to consider:

  • Transparency: Be upfront with your manager about your career goals and your desire for a raise or improved benefits. If you have received a competing offer, you can choose to disclose it, but it’s not mandatory.
  • Focus on Value: The focus of the conversation should be on your value to the company and your contributions, not solely the leverage of another offer.
  • Professionalism: Maintain a professional demeanor throughout the negotiation. Avoid ultimatums or threats to leave if you don’t get what you want.
  • Company Culture: Consider your company culture. Are they open to counteroffers, or is it seen as a sign of disloyalty?

Remember: Negotiation is about building a win-win scenario. By approaching the conversation with a focus on your value and a willingness to find common ground, you can increase your chances of securing a favorable outcome, whether you stay with your current employer or pursue a new opportunity.

Invest in Yourself

However, negotiation isn’t the finish line.

  • Invest in Yourself: Continuously develop your skills and expertise to remain valuable in the marketplace. Consider pursuing professional development opportunities or certifications to further enhance your skillset.
  • Stay Informed: Keep yourself updated on industry trends and salary benchmarks for your position. Resources like salary comparison websites and professional organizations can be helpful tools.
  • Build Your Network: Networking is key! Connect with professionals in your field, attend industry events, and build strong relationships. Your network can be a valuable source of career advice and potential opportunities.

By following these tips and approaching negotiation with confidence and professionalism, you can ensure you’re fairly compensated for your skills and contributions, regardless of the job market climate.

Written by Lisa Meier with research and support from Gemini.