Prove your value at work so a higher salary doesn’t pass you by. Nothing cuts deeper than being passed up for a raise or promotion. Follow these 6 steps to prove your value at work.
Here are the 6 steps to prove your value at work for a salary negotiation:
- 1. Go above and beyond to make yourself valuable
- 2. Research the salary range for your position and field
- 3. Ask yourself what is the worst thing that can happen if you negotiate for a raise
- 4. Keep a list of your accomplishments that prove your value
- 5. Proving your commitment reinforces the value you provide
- 6. Invest in a relationship with your manager
This real-life, anonymous interview provides an example of how to prove your value at work in a salary negotiaion. She shares her advice on how to demonstrate your value at work and then use that as leverage in a salary negotiation.
Interview on proving your value at work for a salary negotiation
In this interview, I’m speaking with a woman who worked diligently to establish herself within a company and earned 3 raises in less than 18 months.
For the 3rd raise, she was able to ask for more because she could prove her value at work.
Title: Executive Assistant
Location: New York
Original Salary: $55K
Negotiated Salary: $80K
Why did you decide to prove your value at work?
I started a new role at company where the hours were demanding and the turnover was high. Up to this point in my career, I had a bad attitude and I would often complain when I was asked to do additional work.
That had worked previously, but in this demanding new role, I realized I had a two choices:
- Coast in this position and ultimately fail, or
- lean into the challenge and try to establish myself within the company.
I chose the latter.
The following 6 steps is how I proved my value at work. My salary increases all started with making myself more valuable at work.
6 Steps to Prove Your Value at Work
1. Go above and beyond to make yourself valuable
Eight months into my role, I was excelling. I received a $5K raise based on performance and I was asked to step in and help as the assistant to the CEO for a week. I knew this was my time to really step up and stand out in my career. Taking this responsibility lightly was not my plan.
I worked 12 hour days and put my all into making sure I did the best job possible. All that while working my job plus being the assitant to the CEO.
When the CEO was looking for another assistant two months later, he told me that I was his first choice for the role and offered me the position with a $10K raise.
I knew that the job would be challenging and my days would be long, but I also knew that this was my chance to create the career that I wanted. I took the position and made myself indispensable by taking on extra work and increased my profile by helping other department heads.
2. Research the salary range for your position and field
In just under a year my salary had increased from $55K to $70K, but my workload and the value I was bringing to the company had increased significantly as well.
After eight months in my new role, I reached out to recruiters to see what the market value was for someone in my position.
Pleasantly surprised, I learned that I was at the low end of the range, which was $70K-$90K.
3. Ask yourself what is the worst thing that can happen if you negotiate for a raise
Self-doubt was plaguing me as I was deciding if I should ask for a higher salary. I had already been given two raises in a short amount of time and I was worried about how I would be perceived.
Would I look greedy asking for more so soon?
To help make my decision I asked myself “what’s the worst that can happen?”
I had saved enough and knew I could go elsewhere and earn more if the negotiation failed. Proving my value at work was how I was going to ask for more.
- Salary Negotiation Guide: How to Neogiate Your Salary and Earn More
- How to Negotiate Non-Financial Rewards
4. Keep a list of your accomplishments that prove your value
To prepare for the review, I put together a sheet of my accomplishments over the last eight months.
I kept a little notebook in my desk where I would jot down reminders of all of my accomplishments. This list proved my value at work for the upcoming salary negotiation.
Using this list I was able to quickly write up everything significant I’d contributed during my time in this role. I planned to use this list of accomplishments to make sure there could be no question as to whether I deserved a raise.
5. Proving your commitment reinforces the value you provide
I started the conversation by sharing my list of contributions. I confidently walked him through the highlights, pointing out the extra projects I had helped with and the long hours I had worked. I was working hard because I respected the company and the liked the people in the company.
My impressive work ethic was because I felt a sense of pride and ownership in my job. Making him aware of my loyalty to the company reinforced how and why I was adding value at work. I just needed to prove my value at work.
Negotiation script to prove your value in a salary negotiation
To prove my value and my loyalty, I said the following during the salary negotiation,
“I am committed to being a critical member of his team, but my compensation isn’t in line with the value of my work.”
My next statement was to ask for a $10K raise, to $80K per year, putting me in the middle of the salary range. This was appropriate based on the length of time I’d been there.
6. Invest in a relationship with your manager
He came back and told me that because I’d gone above and beyond in my role, he wanted to recognize my hard work. As I worked with him daily, he knew my list of accomplishments was accurate. He had a front row seat for how i added value in the office.
He said that part of the value I created at work was my attitude. My positive, can-do attitude is infectious.
The other department heads were always telling him how they can lean on me for assitants. By delivering on my promises, he looks better as my supervisor. It was a win-win in this salary negotiation.
He approved my raise.
Summary of how to prove your value at work
Go above and beyond to make yourself valuable. I developed a reputation for being one of the hardest working employees in the office. I demonstrated my value to the organization every single day. Because I had put in the work and made my contributions visible, when I asked for more they couldn’t say no.
Write down all of your accomplishments and contributions to the team. When asking for more, it’s up to you to make the strongest case possible for yourself.
Having a list of how you prove your value at work, that is continuously updated, will ensure that none of your hard work goes unrecognized.
Need to a little help with your proving your value?
Did you know that negotiating your salary one time can add over a million dollars to your earnings over the course of your career?
That’s kind of a big deal. And so is the confidence you get from knowing that you can ask for and get what you want and need in your career.
My negotiation guide gives you the negotation framework you need to persuasively make that ask. We’re not talking negotiation theory that works in a classroom but not in an office. This is a simple framework that gives you the confidence to use your own voice and get what you need: research. prep. ask.
Fill out the form below and I will send you the kind of email that makes your day. It will have the link to download my negotiation guide so you can start earning more money. Get the salary you deserve, fill out the form below.
This interview was originally published on November 6th, 2016 and the punch-line updated on October 13th, 2019.
research. prep. ask.
Did you know that negotiating your salary one time can add over a million dollars to your earnings over your career?
- I'll show you how with my 3 part system: Research. Prep. Ask.
- 3 videos included with practice scrips
- Free access to Not Your Father's Negotiation Course, a $97 value
Erica Gellerman is a CPA, MBA, personal finance writer, and founder of The Worth Project: personal finance and family travel. website. Her work has been featured on Forbes, Money, Business Insider, The Everygirl, The Everymom, and Lifehacker. When she's not writing about personal finance you can find Erica exploring Europe from her temporary home base in London.
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