Put yourself in position to claim a bigger paycheck

How to Earn a Raise

by Jan Roland


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Finding it hard to get raises? You're not alone. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 2015 saw the first increase in median household income since 2007. "Real median household income in 2015 was 1.6 percent lower than in 2007, the year before the most recent recession, and 2.4 percent lower than the median household income peak that occurred in 1999." That means that very few people are getting raises or promotions.

So if staying in your job isn't enough to get you a raise, what can you do to increase your take-home pay? Human resource experts suggest that you manage your work life as if it were a business. Make plans for where you want to go and how you plan on getting there. Consider taking these steps as you begin to manage your career.

Develop a written plan. Business owners start with a plan. An unwritten plan is just a wish. Writing down your plan forces you to think about it and commit to it. It also sets you up to track your progress.

Make the plan detailed. A written plan should contain much more than your ultimate goal. You'll want to include the small steps along the way. List the job that you hope to have next, and the one after that. Include skills that you want to learn. Arrange them in the order that you hope to accomplish them.

Add a timeline to your plan. Set specific targets for completion of specific goals. List when you want the next promotion or raise. Put yourself in a position to know whether you're moving along your desired path or not.

Let your boss know your plan. Even in low level jobs, your boss should be glad that you want to do a good job and earn a promotion. If they know you're interested in advancement, they could make additional training and job challenges available to you.

Don't go it alone. Find a co-worker or friend to share the journey. Whether you're taking a class, learning a new skill, or celebrating the achievement of one of your goals, it's always more enjoyable to share it with someone else.

Work on your communication skills. No matter your career path, learning to communicate well will help you move forward. A "good listener" is not only well liked, but they also learn more from other people. Also, someone who can communicate their ideas will have an advantage over others who have trouble getting an idea across.

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Learn different jobs. Always be open to learning new work skills. Look for opportunities to test a new piece of equipment or software or try a new method for solving a problem. Volunteer for special assignments or duties. Your boss will begin to look to you as a "go to" person when they have something different to accomplish. Your variety of skills will make you more valuable to your current organization or to another organization.

Take additional classes. Learn as much as you can about subjects related to your work. Don't limit yourself to accredited classes. You can learn a lot from professional organizations and online, too. Look specifically for skills that will be needed for the next job you expect to have.

Watch for trends in your field. Will new skills be required for people doing your work? Are there any companies that are looking for employees with the skills that you have? Always look for opportunities that could provide you with advancement.

You don't need to sit back and wait for someone to give you a raise. With some planning and work, you'll put yourself in a position to claim a bigger paycheck!


Take the Next Step:

  • Find telecommuting and other great jobs such as part-time and freelance work at Flexjobs.com. Because life is flexible. Is your job?
  • Stop struggling to get ahead financially. Subscribe to our free weekly Surviving Tough Times newsletter aimed at helping you 'live better...for less'. Each issue features great ways to help you stretch your dollars and make the most of your resources. Subscribers get a copy of Are You Heading for Debt Trouble? A Simple Checklist And What You Can Do About It for FREE!

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