In our last salary blog, we shared why it is so important to understand what your company really cares about  (hint – it’s money) before walking into a salary negotiation. But before you start the negotiation, it is just as important to know EXACTLY what you want.

What do I want?

This seems like such a simple question.  What do I want?  “Well, I want more money” is usually the answer that people give us when we are helping them strategize a salary negotiation.  Well, how much more money and why ?

If you spend some time really thinking about this question, you can usually get much more specific about the amount of money you want and other benefits or perks too.

Ask yourself the following . . . How much more money do I want and would that amount allow me to feel fairly compensated?

The question of fairness is a really important one.  When we feel fairly compensated, we are happier at work.  And savvy managers know that when we feel that the hard work we put in matches what we get back, we perform better.  And we perform better in measurable, concrete ways. The research is clear. Employees who feel fairly compensated have less turnover, are more engaged, are psychologically and physically healthier so they take less time off, and have a higher satisfaction with life in general. 

Fair compensation is not only good for you, it’s also good for  business. So figure out what amount would feel fair and why.  Think about your job responsibilities, what you have accomplished and the impact it has had on your company.  You may also want to think about your salary in relation to your colleagues.  Some of our clients have been able to uncover salary information from other employees, so you may need to do some digging. You can also research salaries in your industry at

It is also essential for your negotiation to know what else is important to you. In addition to money, what other things do you want?  

Do you want more time off? How much more time?

Do you want more control over your work product? In which ways specifically?

Maybe you want more training or professional development? Why? What training or courses specifically?  How will you use these new skills to benefit the company?

A better title? What do you suggest?

A seat on a coveted committee in the firm? Explain why you can contribute to that group.

An expanded role? What new roles and responsibilities are you looking to take on? How does this help you?  How does this help your manager and the organization?

These questions are designed to help you become very specific so that you can clearly ask for what you want. They also provide you with something to negotiate. If they will not give you the amount of money you were hoping for, ask for paid professional development, a better title, or a day to work remotely etc.   We believe that when you can specifically identify what you want, and why, you can ask for it more clearly and engage more assertively in your salary negotiation. 

In our next blog, we will share our best strategies for using your network to help you score the raise that you deserve.

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