Do you ever wonder whether you’re being sufficiently rewarded for the effort you put into your job and the value you’re adding to whatever company you work for?

Many do, and  most won’t do anything about it.

That’s understandable. A salary renegotiation can seem frightening. We don’t want everything to go wrong, for the boss to take it the wrong way and end up firing us.

But it’s important to be recognized — and compensated — for the work we do.

And if you approach it calmly and sensibly, a salary negotiation could be one of the best things you ever do.

Here are some tips on how to go about it.

Make your case.

Have evidence to back up your claim that you should be paid more. Your boss might not be aware of the individual contributions each team member makes to the bottom line, so it’s up to you to point them out.

Maybe you have a string of testimonials from satisfied customers who return to your company time and again thanks to the service you provide. Or maybe you have a concrete figure that shows how your work saves the company money.

Be as prepared as possible before stepping into that negotiation meeting.

Timing is everything.

You’re always dedicated to your job, but a particularly impressive achievement — for example, landing the company a few lucrative new clients — is probably a good opportunity to point out that your compensation is no longer commensurate with your performance.

On the other hand, if factors beyond your control are giving your manager the jitters — like the threat of an impending takeover — then your request, however well-intentioned, isn’t likely to go down as well.

Pick the best moment and you’re more likely to get the raise you request.

Know your worth.

Every employee at every company is different, even those who share the same job title, so you’ll want to highlight what puts you a cut above.

External data that shows what a person in your field should be paid helps if it turns out you’re below the average. But focus on your geographical area too; the same job in New York might not be worth as much in Topeka.

Research sites such as Glassdoor can provide an idea of what your job is worth, but remember that they’ll probably only give you a rough average. The same job title can be interpreted differently by different companies.

Keep it professional.

A salary negotiation isn’t personal. Keep the focus on your performance and don’t get emotional, even if factors in your personal life mean extra money is sorely needed. Knowing about these things will only put your manager in an awkward position; ethically, he or she can only offer you a raise based on the work you are doing for the company.

And if the answer is no, don’t let it strain your relationship with your supervisor. There may simply have been insufficient room in the company’s budget, or the decision could have come down to a higher-level manager or the human resources department.

The bottom line

There’s no reason why you shouldn’t ask for a higher paycheck, if your work justifies it and you go about it in the right way. At that point, there’s nothing to lose. Research more dos and don’ts on this type of situation, and check out this template for planning the conversation.

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