Negotiating your salary early in your career can make a big difference over your lifetime–specifically, a $1,037,773 difference in your lifetime income, per CBS MoneyWatch. (Dude, do you have any idea how much bacon I can buy with that?) Here’s how to negotiate your salary without scaring your boss or selling yourself short.
Do your homework.
Research how much other people are making in your field. No, don’t go asking your coworkers–try this instead or do some digging online. If you’re making less than the average amount for someone of your rank and experience, you probably can make your case pretty easily.
Gather your evidence.
If you want to truly make a convincing case to your boss, you need to back up what you want to get with what you’ve given her already. Did you get glowing reviews for a recent project? Do you frequently turn work in before your deadlines? Did you remember to wear pants every day for an entire week? All of that can give you leverage, so document everything you can to put together the best possible portfolio.
Time your request right.
Be sure to meet with your boss when you know the company typically doles out its raises and reviews … but be careful. If the company just downsized, laid off a bunch of people or suffered any other loss in labor or profits, it’s going to be much harder to prove why paying you would be worth their while.
If your company can’t afford to pay you more, try to negotiate for other perks. If you have a timely or expensive commute, ask to work from home a few days a week. (This is especially great for parents, who can save on babysitting costs.) If you tend to turn in your work early, ask to leave early on Fridays. If you’re worth it (and you are!), your boss will probably want to keep you happy.