Making The Salary You Deserve? How to Make Sure

Career Resources

There comes a time in everybody’s career when you begin to wonder if you’re being paid enough for your hard work. It can be intimidating to try and find out what you’re actually worth, but doing so is invaluable for your salary and career. Asking for more from your employer can sound scary, or like a good way of making you sound pushy or demanding. However, the trick is all in how you go about obtaining the salary you deserve. Try out these tips and see how much more you could be earning:

  1. Know what you’re worth.

Before you do anything else, make sure you know what you’re worth. Ask yourself a series of questions to find out exactly what you bring to a company. What are others in my industry making right now? What skills can I bring to my job? If I left my job today, would another company snatch me up?

To check out what others are making, try an online tool such as TheLadders Job Market Guides. You’ll be able to search what others are making in your field, and determine whether your pay is too low.

  1. Track your achievements.

If you’ve found in your initial research that you’re making too little, now is the time to start thinking about a raise. Before you ask, though, start tracking your achievements within the company. Your boss may not know about everything you do, so start putting together the evidence of what a valuable employee you are.

To start tracking your achievements, try out this accomplishments worksheet. It will help you ask the important questions about what you contribute, your history within the company and what other evidence you have.


  1. Practice and prepare.

Once you’ve decided to ask for that raise and gathered your evidence, it’s time to prepare. Think of the upcoming meeting as a job interview. You’re looking to get across just why you deserve this pay raise, and what your employer will gain in giving it to you. Practicing what you’re going to say, and how you’re going to say it, will give you confidence when the time comes.

Follow the tips in this Gen Y Planning article to prepare for all eventualities. It covers what evidence to use in your favor, as well as what to do in unexpected circumstances.


  1. Try a ‘power pose.’

Body language is important during the interview, not just because of what it says to your employer, but for your own confidence too. Research has shown how adopting powerful poses can affect our testosterone and cortisol levels, which can increase our performance. Try a power pose just before your interview to increase your confidence.

If you want ideas for power poses, try out Business Insider‘s list of poses for a variety of situations. ‘The Performer’ pose is designed to make you feel more confident just before you step into an interview.


  1. Negotiate

It may feel like you’re going into that meeting to demand the pay raise you deserve, but instead you’re negotiating it. Employers often actually expect their employees to negotiate for a higher salary, rather than simply accepting the one they’ve been given.

Try the Briefcase Technique when you’re looking to negotiate. The technique makes you do 80% of the work before you even step into that interview. It also has you consider the needs of the other person, so you can both come to a reasonable conclusion.


  1. Check that you’re paying the right amount of tax.

Something that could be eating into your salary could be your tax contribution. While dealing with tax issues is never pleasant, it could be that you’re paying an incorrect amount, which will be affecting your salary.

Try out the IRS Withholding Calculator to see if you need to make any changes to your tax. Put in your details, and the calculator will be able to tell you whether you need to submit a new W-4 to your employer.


  1. If knocked down, try again.

If your employer says no to a pay raise, don’t be disheartened. It could be a number of things that are stopping them, not simply your abilities. The trick is to dust yourself off and try again. Reschedule another meeting in six months’ time. While you’re waiting, work on your abilities, track your accomplishments again and look to make yourself even more valuable. This time, they may not be able to refuse you.

If you are refused, try asking for feedback. The Muse details just how to get and act upon honest, useful feedback that will help you in your next attempt.


Refusal to negotiate salary can cost women up to half a million dollars in their working life. If you’ve earned that pay raise, what’s stopping you from going out and getting it? Have you ever found you were paid less than you were worth, or negotiated your salary? If so, please let us know what you did in the comments.