You have been working very hard and putting in long hours at work. You feel you should be getting more than what you are currently paid especially if your peers are earning significantly more than you.

Of course, you could wait patiently for your boss to notice your dedication and propose a salary increase, but chances are he wouldn’t. If you want to earn more money, you will need to initiate the process and build a strong case on why you deserve the raise.

Though negotiating a raise in salary may not be easy, there are some strategic and tactical tips that can help you secure the increase you have been waiting for.

Determine your market worth

Research salary levels through news clippings, trade magazines, relevant employment advertisements or contact the competition. You can also talk to executive search firms to ascertain what you are worth.

If you have been working in the same company for several years, you may be surprised to know that there is often a huge discrepancy between your present salary and what the market is paying to others of comparable skills and experience.

Build a strong case

Justify your salary increase by basing it on your performance and contributions to the company. Sell yourself and your achievements, offering a solid case why you deserve a raise. Always keep a documentation of your work and track your level of performance for the most recent year or the last six months, especially if you are anticipating a request for a pay increment.

It is also important to demonstrate how much more value you would be able to bring to the organisation, and articulate your commitment to take on new or added responsibilities and projects that will help your boss achieve the company’s goals and objectives.

Employers are always more open to rewarding executives who bring a broad-based perspective and vision to their work and the company’s mission.

The art of negotiation

Even if you are already getting what the market says you are worth, there is no reason why you should not ask for more. Aim high but set reasonable limits so that your boss has a clear idea of your expectations.

Be realistic about what you are asking for and seek to understand the limits of your organisation. Many supervisors may want to reward you with a higher salary, but are unable to do so due to certain company conditions. However, do not undersell yourself and settle for something that you are not entirely comfortable with.

The art of negotiation also requires you to be flexible and be open to other forms of compensation and benefits if the pay increment offered is not up to your expectations.

Depending on what motivates you, you can request for other perks that would satisfy you just as much as a pay rise. It could be in the form of a bigger bonus, sponsorship of a course of your interest, having the option of working from home, the opportunity to travel, or simply having more paid leave so that you can have longer weekends.

Anticipate objections and problems

Be prepared for your boss to reject your request. List down what you think would be the top five reasons your boss may not want to give you a raise, and prepare your responses to the anticipated objections.

You could even bring it up during your initial discussion to show that you understand the company’s and his position, but offer equally powerful arguments on why you feel a raise is well deserved and due so that it is more difficult for your employer to say “no”.

Stay professional at all times

Regardless of what the outcome of the negotiation is, always remain professional and never resort to ultimatums and threats, no matter how emotionally satisfying.

Avoid cornering your boss and demanding for an immediate response as that may come across as rather self-serving and arrogant. Phrasing your request assertively rather than taking on an aggressive stance will save you some embarrassment if your request is denied.

You can then take some time to think things over and decide if you should make other plans and move on, or stay put because you like your job and the firm so much you are willing to wait for a later time to discuss the issue of a pay increment again.

Keep a positive attitude through the process and let your boss know that you appreciate the time he took to at least consider your request.

Be proactive in creating the right environment and conditions to negotiate your next raise. Start collating more documentation of your successes and achievements and practise your negotiation skills. The more prepared and focused you are, the more likely it will be for you to achieve success.