Trying to get a raise at your job is always a tricky proposition. You’re great at your job, but feel like you are not being properly compensated. Maybe the pay was good when you were hired, but it hasn’t kept up with other companies. You feel unmotivated because new employees with less experience are being hired and getting paid more than you are. We have all been there, now it’s time to do something about it.

How to finally get that raise you deserve

This system can always get you a raise. The process is simple but it does take work. With your full focus you should be able to get a raise in under a month, and with very low risk to yourself. Great, so what are the steps?

Get completely prepped to interview

This means there are a few things that you need to do:

  • Get your resume ready to rock
  • Know the answers to common interview questions cold
  • Get your interview outfit picked out
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Find another job that excites you

There are great resources to help you find a new job that you will love. I personally recommend indeed.com as it is an amazing aggregator of all the jobs in your area. Look for a position that you would be competent in but more importantly a place you could see yourself for a few years. It should be a job that motivates you and you are genuinely interested in. Changing jobs is healthy emotionally as well as great for career growth so long as you don’t change jobs too often.

Interview for that cool new job

Take a half a day off from your current job and go interview for the new position. Absolutely crush your interview and get an offer. Not sure how to crush an interview? We can help. If you don’t nail the interview and get an offer it’s no big deal. Just learn from the experience and do another one. With practice you can get very good at interviewing and with the correct preparation they can actually be fun.

Negotiate for a great offer

Once you’ve nailed the interview, you know they want you. It is much easier for them to hire you than to try to find someone else. It probably took them many interviews over weeks or months to find someone they really liked (You!). Now comes the fun part, you finally have some leverage.

Even though you love this new job, the offer needs to beat your current salary package or it’s not worth it. You know that it takes months of hard work to get up to speed at a new company and you may have to move and leave your friends behind. Do you really want to be doing that out of the goodness of your heart?

The first offer they make is almost never their best offer. The next five minutes of your life can make you tens of thousands of dollars if you do it correctly. The salary negotiation should go something like this:

Them: “So how much are you looking for in terms of salary here?”

You: “Well I am making $100,000 a year at my current company and it needs to be enough to make the switch worthwhile.”

[Don’t negotiate against yourself. Do not say another word. Let the room go completely silent no matter how long it feels. Make them say the next word.]

Them: “Well we could probably do $105,000 a year and give you a nice bump in salary. Would that work?”

You: “$105,000 hmm”

[Contemplate this number in your head. Think about how much of a hassle it is to change jobs and if it’s worth it. Do not say a word for at least a minute. Don’t be afraid to use silence. People hate awkwardness and will do almost anything to avoid it. Make them fill the awkwardness by talking.]

Them: “Well we could probably go up to $110,000 a year is that better for you?”

You: “I have researched what this position pays in this city as well as at this company and I think I am really worth about $115,000.]

[Again make them say the next word. Resist the urge to back pedal and accept their offer at $110,000.]

Them: “Yeah I think we would be okay with that. When can you start?”

Compare your options

It’s time to make a spreadsheet. You need to map out a complete comparison of the new job to the current job. Sure their salary may be higher, but who offers more vacation, 401k contributions, lower healthcare cost, stock options? Who gives you more sick days? What value do you put on the difference in commute time? Try to determine the true total value. If you value the total compensation of $140,000 at your current job and $160,000 from the offer, then your new offer is really worth $20,000 a year to you, and not just the $15,000 difference in base pay. This number is important remember it for later.

Get super excited by the new offer

If you love your current job then it is important that you imagine what it would be like to take the new offer. Think about the fun of working on new projects, meeting new people, getting to work at a new office, even getting a change of pace for the morning commute. You want to be excited enough by the new job that you are anticipating taking it and are happy to do so. If you are unhappy with your current job and you don’t think more money will make you happier and more motivated then it’s best to take this new offer.

Negotiate with your current employer

Offers will typically be open from a few days to a week or more. So now is the time to use this offer to your advantage. There is no getting around the fact that this is going to be an awkward conversation. Remember that you love your job but are unhappy and unmotivated because the money is no longer competitive. If they can get the money where it needs to be then you would love to stay and continue doing great things.

Schedule a meeting with your manager but don’t tell him what it is about until you are in the meeting. This needs to happen in person, never try to have this discussion in email or a chat app. The goal of this conversation is to get your current job to give you a raise that meets or beats your offer. Here is your script for this meeting:

You: “Hi Bob thanks for meeting with me today. First I want to say that I love it here at Company X. I love the people who I work with, I believe in the vision of the company and I really enjoy the projects that I have had the opportunity to work on. The only thing that has become a problem is the salary has not stayed competitive. I’ve gotten a job offer from Company Y for $120,000 a year. I really want to stay here because I love the work and the people and am really productive and fit in really well here, but I would need the money to be more competitive.”

[Make Bob say the next thing. Under no circumstances should you say anything until he does. This is going to be incredibly awkward. Remember you can make thousands of dollars by making the other person fill that awkwardness.]

Bob: “Well that’s unexpected. I understand where you are coming from and we really don’t want to lose you. Would $110,000 a year make everything good with you?”

You: “$110,000 hmm”

[You know the drill by now! Embrace the silence. Contemplate this number in your head. Think about how much of a hassle it was to do those interviews. Is this enough to really make you feel motivated and happy again. Do not say a word for at least a minute. Make Bob fill the awkwardness.]

Bob: “Well I think the best we could do would be $115,000 would that work?”

You: “I appreciate that $115,000 is definitely a big improvement, but it still feels a bit less than the current offer and I want to be super motivated. How about $115,000 and 1,000 shares with the standard 3 year vest.”

[This is important because it will even out the value for you as well as shows Bob that you want to be around for the long-term; which is something he may be uneasy about. You want him to know that you are excited and highly motivated if you accept this offer.]

Bob: “Yeah I think we could do that”

So now you have just negotiated yourself up from $100,000 a year to $115,000 a year with an additional 1,000 shares of stock. You are now at a job that you love, and will be with for years to come, and have successfully negotiated your way to a competitive wage.

Click here for a Must-Have Checklist: The 20 Often-Overlooked Benefits You Should Be Negotiating For (Hint: It’s not all about the money)

Does this actually work?

You bet it does. But how do I know? Because I have used this exact strategy to triple my salary in the last ten years.

When I started my last job it was a good offer and I was super excited for the opportunity. But over the course of a few years, as I reached expert level in the technology I was working on, I became much more valuable. I didn’t get a single raise after several years and became frustrated by my salary. I loved the company, loved the people, loved the projects. I didn’t want to leave, but I couldn’t afford to be underpaid, it is far too expensive.

I brushed up on my interviewing skills and put myself out there. I found a job opening at a great company that had a very interesting project. When I interviewed with them I crushed the interview and began negotiating a salary. Their initial offer was at the very low-end of what I was worth, and using the techniques above I negotiated them up to about 40% more than my current employer was paying me. I then approached my current employer and was able to negotiate them into giving me a 20% raise as well as several thousand additional shares of stock.

By following the simple approach above, I was able to be able to stay at the job I love, while getting paid a fair wage. You can do it too, all it takes is following the plan and executing.