2 Hacks for a Higher Salary in 2017

Millennials are earning less today (after adjusting for inflation) than the same age group did in the past according to the New York Times. Even worst, “less than half of working Americans even ask for a raise and close to 30% are uncomfortable negotiating salary, according to a new study by Payscale,” (Time.com.) Of course you’re not entitled to a higher salary just because you want it. But you’re certainly entitled to a financial return that matches the value you create. In short, you have to do more to make more in order to build the negotiating leverage that’ll convince your employer to bump up your salary. Here are the 2 Hacks I used to negotiate for a higher salary, remote work and the removal of job responsibilities I hated.

Hack Prerequisites

  • Firstly, accept that a conversation with your boss about a salary increase is going to be uncomfortable.
  • Secondly, getting a raise is often a process; so you’ve still won even if you secure a raise for next year.
  • Thirdly, beware of coming across as the infamous ‘Entitled Millennial,’ so be sure to present a humble (yet confident) and flexible demeanor during salary negotiations.
  • Lastly, be reasonable for your industry, position and experience level when negotiating a higher salary.

Most Importantly!

It’s essential to develop a Unique Value Proposition i.e. a skill(s) that solve your employer’s problems in a way that distinguishes you from other employees. Often this is a talent you already have that might not relate directly to your job. For example, I’ve always loved writing so as a Operations Analyst at JP Morgan I leveraged my Technical Writing skills as my Unique Value Proposition.

1. Hacking Your Current Job Salary

Of people who have put themselves out there to request better compensation, three quarters saw their paychecks go up: 44% received the amount they asked for and 31% got an amount that was less than what they asked for,” (Time.com.) Below are the 5 steps you’ll need to secure a higher salary at your current job.

  • Research the salary range for your position, location and experience level. This will tell you if you’re being underpaid, fairly paid or overpaid. Being able to present verifiable evidence that you’re being underpaid just adds to your negotiating power. Conversely, securing a higher salary can be harder if you’re being paid fairly or overpaid but there’s a hack for that, read on!
  • Go above and beyond your job description. Create so much value for your employer using your Unique Value Proposition that you become indispensable to the point that your company will pay to keep you.

I was an Operations Analyst but volunteered to use my Unique Value Proposition (Technical Writing) to create Standard Operating Procedures and Process Improvement Macros for my department.

  • Get some interviews/job offers in your pipeline. Prove your value to your employer by demonstrating that you’re in high demand. Few things are more powerful during salary talks than saying “I’d really like to stay here but I’ve received an offer from ABC Company with very competitive compensation. If you could bump my salary by x amount I’d be more than happy to turn them down.” This also gives you the option to jumpship should your employer be inflexible about giving you a higher salary.

I used my Resume Hacks to attract multiple interview requests from other companies before I started negotiating a new salary.

  • Wait for the right time to approach your employer about a raise. Strategically delay asking for a higher salary until a moment when losing your expertise would hurt the company the most.

I waited until the department was in the middle of a regulatory audit and all eyes were on Standard Operating Procedures. Since I was the only one writing them losing me would really hurt the entire department.

  • If your boss flat out refuses to give you a salary increase you have two options; take the job you found and apply Hacking Your New Job Salary below or negotiate for something else (remote work, editing your job description, a future raise, etc.)

My first request for a raise was denied but I used my Unique Value Proposition to negotiate leaving early on Thursdays, working from home on Fridays and removing a job responsibility I really hated.

2. Hacking Your New Job Salary

According to Legal Technology Solutions (LTS) figures, in a healthy economic market, a 8-10% increase is about average for a job change. Other reports show as much as a 20% increase possibility. In fact, staying at the same employer for over two years on average can cost you 50% or more in lifetime earnings,” (Forbes.) Below are the 4 steps you’ll need to secure a higher salary at a new job.

  • Research the salary range for the position, location and experience level. This will provide a reasonable number to give a hiring manager when you’re asked about salary needs and it’ll let you know if the salary you’re offered is low.
  • Demonstrate the value you bring to the table with a High Powered Resume, Cover Letter and during the interview. Establishing yourself as a High Value Employee justifies the investment (a high salary) your potential employer would make in you.
  • When asked about your current salary give an Inflated Range. When you inflate you add all sources of income from your current job and present that as your Total Compensation when asked about your salary. You do this because recruiters gauge what your new salary should be based on your current salary. A range has the benefit of showing you’re negotiable with your salary requests, leaves you open to a higher offer, and even if you get the lowest part of your range – you still got a raise!

Let’s say you’re making a 50k salary, after you add your overtime pay and bonus you make 58k in total compensation. When asked tell recruiters you’d like to stay in a 55k-60k salary range.

  • If they flat out refuse to give you a salary increase you have three options; take another job/stay at your current job, negotiate for something else (remote work, job description editing, a raise at a later time) or take the position and use the Hacking Your Current Job Salary above.

About the Author

Julius Q. Holmes IV is a Millennial Career Hacker and Technical Writer. He can be contacted at Info@CareerReadyWriting.com or via his Linkedin Profile.