Negotiating your bonus check doesn’t have to be scary. Follow these tips to feel confident as you ask for the bonus you deserve.
Whether you’ve just been offered a job or you’re gunning for a raise, negotiating your bonus can be tricky. Perhaps you hesitate because you don’t want to seem ungrateful—you’re happy to have a job in the first place. Or maybe you’re scared countering a salary offer will lead to the offer being retracted. Or, quite possibly, you just hate negotiating altogether. Whatever your reason, we’ve all been there.
Step One: Be Proactive and Transparent About the Money
Have an open and honest conversation with your manager months before review time. Don’t wait until the day of your review—by then it’s too late.
Fairly assess your contributions. What have you done to garner a higher wage? Don’t be fooled into thinking you should get a raise before you perform at the next level. You’ll need to prove ahead of time that you are capable of more responsibility, before anyone ups your paycheck. Be sure to present research on what others in the industry are making and why you feel your work stacks up. Once you’ve unearthed what a reasonable raise would look like, ask your boss what she’d like to see performance-wise to help you reach that mark. Let her know you’re willing to work for it.
Step Two: Work Hard First, Negotiate Salary Later
Check in regularly with your manager to see how you’re doing. Be proactive by offering suggestions as to how you can take your position to the next level. Keep track of your own progress. The easiest way to get promoted is to do excellent work at the level you wish to be promoted to.
Don’t shy away. Take on more assignments and regularly ask your manager if there’s more you can be doing. Aim to make her life easier; resurrect important tasks that have fallen off her radar, and be proactive about getting her information she needs ahead of time.
Step Three: Network at Work
Learning to network with employees who are a level or two above you is an excellent way to recruit the support of higher-ups. If you’re perceived as having a peer network of more senior employees, you’ll be that much closer to being perceived as an employee at that level. Instead of blatantly stating you have friends in high places, simply refer to projects you’ve worked on where the stakeholders were more senior.
Follow these three steps and you’re on your way to receiving the raise you deserve come review time. The only thing left to do? Persevere! Big salaries and lofty titles are the makings of serious staying power.
Have you ever negotiated a bonus check successfully? What did you try that worked?
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