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Increase Your Salary: 10 Expert Tips

Determined to increase your salary? Follow these tips from Reesa Staten, vice president of communications and director of research at recruiting firm Robert Half International and Anna Ivey, a Boston-based career and admissions counselor, to increase your salary this year.

1. Get comfortable negotiating salary raises. 
"Women fall behind here, because they generally aren’t as aggressive and fall farther and farther behind with their salaries. You can’t be shy about asking to be paid what you’re worth," Ivey said. Along these lines, she said, it’s important to keep detailed documentation of your achievements.

2. Research and compare your salary.
Staten urges workers to make sure they know how much their skills are worth before they pursue a different position or a promotion. Compare your salary.

3. Become an indispensable expert.
Continue to learn about your line of work, so that you stay current with trends and developments. Your strategy might include going to industry conferences, reading industry publications or setting up regular lunch meetings with others in your field to exchange information and ideas. This is a key to increasing your salary.

4. Make yourself visible.
Network and mingle, making sure you are continually visible to others in your industry and your workplace. At work, take on difficult challenges and make sure that management is aware of your contributions.

5. Update your skills.
Consider training or certifications that could lead to a promotion. "In some companies, if you don’t have a bachelor’s degree, you can’t advance to the next level. Some jobs require an MBA; get as much education as possible," Staten said. Search for online learning that could help increase your salary.

6. If you return to school, make sure that it will pay off.
Ivey said it’s important to investigate degree programs before launching into one that might not increase your salary — and could end up costing you more in the long-run. Also, find out what continuing education benefits are offered by your employer. You may be able to "earn more" by getting your employer to cover tuition costs. Research the best college degrees for higher earnings.

7. Absorb and adapt to new methods.
"Things are changing quickly; what is state of the art now will be obsolete 10 years from now," Staten said. When things change at work instead of getting grumpy, be the first to jump on board. Your enthusiasm for change and adaptability to new systems and ideas are to how your employer values you and could lead to a salary increase.

8. Be receptive to criticism.
Constructive criticism can help you improve your performance, Ivey said. Not only is it important to be able to gracefully accept criticism from your coworkers and boss, but integrating that feedback into your work can win you points and opportunities for promotion.

9. Sharpen your communication skills.
"I don’t care what role you’re in. If you can read and speak well, you are way ahead of the pack," Ivey said.

10. Get comfortable with math.
"A lot of people coast through college without number knowledge — just basic knowledge, like how to read a financial statement. We live in a Sarbanes-Oxley [SOX]  now. If you work in a publicly traded company, you will be affected by SOX. Accounting is a great skill to have in your tool set," Ivey said, referring to the federal law that tightened corporate governance standards.

Kristina Cowan is the senior writer for PayScale.com. She has over 10 years of journalism experience, specializing in education and workforce issues.

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