How to Get a Higher Salary in 3 Steps


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As a boy my parents taught me “Do good work and you will be rewarded.”

It wasn’t until later in my career that I discovered their advice was only half true.

Yes, you must do good work. But “kinh nghiem xuong mau” has taught me that many bosses will be happy to take your good work yet give you only tiny raises.

I’ve found if you want more, you must ASK for more. Don’t ask, don’t get.

Here are the 3 steps you can begin today to get a higher salary.

Step 1: Do a Great Job

Your ability to increase your salary is directly related to the amount of value you add to the company.

How to increase your value to the company?

Look for new problems and take responsibility for solving them. Never say “that’s not my job.” Always do more than your boss asks of you and exceed expectations. Improve your coding skills and deliver faster, better applications. If you’re not sure how you can add more value, ask your boss.

Move on to Step 2 only when you’re confident you’re doing a great job and have some strong achievements.

Step 2: Know Your Market Value

No matter how good you are, your employer’s ability to hire someone else to do your job puts a limit on your salary potential. Do some research. Ask friends and visit job sites like ITviec to check on salaries for jobs similar to yours.

If your research suggests your salary can be increased, choose a number at the upper end of the range. For example, if your salary is 15 million VND and your research shows comparable positions at 13-18 million VND, choose 17 or 18 million. This will be your negotiating start position.

Step 3: Ask!

Nobody is going to ask for a higher salary but you.

You may be uncomfortable asking for more money. That is normal and natural. But you must ask.

Here’s a script you can use in a private meeting with your boss. It is very polite and respectful, yet clear.

Open the meeting in a friendly way. Give your boss a compliment — tell him something you like about working with him. Make him feel good.

“Hi boss. You know how much I enjoy working with you and for the company. I’ve learned so much from you and others here.”

Then describe your achievement and contribution. Remind your boss of your good work.

“I’m proud of the work I’ve done. For example, on Projects X and Y I did….”

Tell him that you have goals.

“You know, career advancement and financial goals are important to me.”

Now you make your move.

“In particular, I have a salary goal of X.I think I’ve done some great work and I’m worth that salary. I’d like to achieve that goal at this company. If I can’t achieve that goal here I’ll have to look outside.”

Now you STOP TALKING. Wait for your boss to respond.

You’ve just communicated that you believe you’re worth a hire salary. You’ve also let him know very politely that you may leave if you don’t get it.

He’ll either agree to your request, offer you less than you’re asking or say no. If he says no you’ve lost nothing. And if he says yes you have a higher salary. Awesome!

If you get it, great. If you don’t get it, no worries. If you’ve been at your job for at least one year it may be time to look for another job to achieve that goal.

Got a salary negotiation story or question? Share below! I’ll respond to all comments.