For those professionals employed right now, you may be wondering if getting a promotion, pay raise, or increased perks are even possible given this tough economy. The answer is “yes!” If you’ve added value and achieved results for the company in the past 12 months, then follow these five key strategies to help beef up your paycheck –
1. Focus on results. Many professionals make the mistake of focusing on how hard they’ve worked during the past year. Instead, you need to focus on results. State what you’ve accomplished to help the company save money, or generate new revenue.
For example, you may be able to say that you helped launch a new product that resulted in a 2-percent increase in market share. Or, that you implemented a new technology that saved the company $20-thousand a year.
Those are REAL results that prove you’re adding value to the company’s bottom line. When you’re able to build a strong business case and prove that you’re adding value to a company, you’re much more likely to be financially rewarded.
2. Work with your manager. Many times, people see their manager as someone who stops them from getting a raise, when realistically your boss is your greatest ally.
The key is to get as much face time with your manager as possible, preferably weekly one-on-one meetings. Focus on the results your achieving, as well as making sure that expectations are aligned and that you’re providing value on the right kinds of initiatives.
Also, when you meet for your year-end performance review, you can focus on what you’ve accomplished over the past 12 months (which is what most people do), but you should also set a vision of what you will be accomplishing in the next six months. This shows that you’re a forward thinker, committed to the company, and that you’re going to continue adding value to help the company be successful.
3. Clearly identify what you want. If you’re working for a company that’s doing well, then by all means you should ask for a raise! But if you’re like most professionals working for a company that’s struggling to stay afloat, then a pay raise may not be realistic.
Think outside the box of other perks that you could negotiate for yourself such as a few more vacation days, one day a week to work from home, or access to the company’s box seats at the next sporting event. There are always perks you can negotiate.
Identify what you really want, clearly ask for it, and then make sure you walk away from the conversation with at least one great win for yourself!
4. Keep a good attitude. Right now it’s a pretty tough environment to get a raise so don’t get discouraged if your manager tells you “no”. Keep a good attitude and respond positively no matter what.
A good friend of mine Laura Browne, author of “Raise Rules for Women” states, “The goal is to position yourself favorably so that when the economy turns around and the company starts making money, you’ll be the first in line to get a raise.”
5. Set yourself up for success. If your manager turns down your request for a raise, a smart response is to simply say, “Help me understand what I would need to do to get a raise.” Try to get a clear action plan of next steps including priorities, goals, and milestones that will set you up for success. Then, make sure you follow-up by meeting with your manager every week, or at minimum every other week, to get feedback and help you stay on track.
All companies want to keep great employees. So no matter what the economy is doing, you should always prove how you’re adding value to the company and at least ask for a pay increase. When you demonstrate that you consistently add to a company’s bottom line, more than likely they’ll do everything in their power to keep you on board.
It’s true that the economy and the job market aren’t doing well, BUT companies are still hiring! Just check out theLadders.com, and your local Business Journal for a list of companies looking to add great talent to their line-up.
It’s not enough these days to put your resume up on Monster.com and then sit back and wait for the phone to ring. You have to work at finding a job, and making yourself stand out from your competition. So to help move into a new job fast, here are ten (10) career change success strategies. (The first five were covered in a previous blog post Bullet Proof Your Career with 5 Key Strategies. Below are strategies 6 through 10… put them all together and you have 10 simple yet effective career success tips.
6. Network strategically. Many people don’t enjoy networking. It can be awkward, uncomfortable, and you don’t know what to say! So here’s a tip – when you meet someone who could potentially hire you (or introduce you to others who could potentially hire you), be sure to talk about the kind of work you enjoy doing, and the results you’ve achieved for other companies.
For example, you could say something like, “I like to create marketing campaigns that include TV and radio ads. In fact, the last campaign I worked on generated a 4% increase in sales for the customer!”
7. Power up your resume. Customize your resume for every job you apply for. Yes, it’s a pain, but it works! Showcase those skills and requirements that are listed in the job description. Think of it this way, the hiring manager doesn’t want to know about every skill you have – they only want to know if you have the skills to do their job.
If you don’t meet every requirement listed in the job description – don’t worry! Very few people do. A great rule of thumb is to match at least 60-percent of the requirements. If you can do that – then I say to “go for it!”
8. Focus on results! On your resume, in your interviews, and in your networking opportunities – instead of focusing on responsibilities, talk about your achievements. Also, try to quantify your achievements with a number, dollar, or percentage.
For example, don’t just say that you managed a team of 9 people in the sales department. Instead, say that you led a sales team that generated $250,000 a year for the past 3 years! This says that you take your job seriously, and take your career seriously!
9. Interview smart. Everyone dreads the big question, “What are your weaknesses?” The best way to answer this question is to identify an area that you’re already working on, and say what you’re doing to strengthen that area.
For example, if the job calls for someone who can create PowerPoint presentations and you don’t know how to do that – then maybe you could say something like, “I want to learn more about how to create PowerPoint presentations so I’m taking the Microsoft on-line training course.” But of course, only say that if you’re actually doing it!
10. If you’re stuck – get professional help! Never let your career sit on shelf longer than it has to – it means thousands of dollars every month in missed income that you should be making! So if you’re not getting results, then get help. Invest a couple hundred dollars in some professional advice wherever you need it –
Great companies are ALWAYS looking to hire great talent – and that means you! So, if you’re serious about getting into a new career, then follow these five tips, power up your confidence, and believe in yourself! You’ll significantly increase your chances of getting hired, and decrease the time it takes you to move into your new job!
Online degrees, like the information assurance masters degree, could help you acquire the right knowledge for a successful career change, without sacrificing your valuable time.
The job market is a little dicey these days, and you need to be career savvy in order to keep your job, or get into a new one.
So how can you bullet proof your career so that you stay in high demand with people who could potentially hire you, or introduce you to others who could potentially hire you?
A new client I’ll call “Shawn” recently called me and said that he had gone through a change in management which resulted in losing his 7-year position as a Leading Program Manager of a prestigious high tech company.
He told me that after one year of searching, he had taken the “only job he could get” which was working part-time in the IT department for another company. After talking for a few minutes, it became painfully clear why Shawn wasn’t able to get back on his career path.
1. Keep yourself marketable. Shawn shared that the high tech industry was starting to require a project management certification for project and program managers. However, Shawn wasn’t stepping up to get the required training.
What he WANTED was to get re-hired as a Program Manager, and then have the new company pay for his certification. What he GOT was two years sitting on the bench without a job.
Never let your career sit on a shelf longer than 6-months. Never! Keep the same drive and discipline that you had when you were employed. Get focused. Get a plan. Make it happen. Wallowing isn’t allowed. Instead, seek out opportunities to keep yourself marketable. Use your “in-between” jobs time to get advanced training and education to help advance your career. Consider expanding your skill set by freelancing or consulting. Join an association’s Board of Directors, or at minimum, a committee. These strategies will help keep you visible, expand your network, and keep yourself marketable.
2. Fish where the fish are. Another mistake Shawn was making was not having a solid job search strategy. Where are your potential employers? Find out by reading trade magazines, industry publications, company websites and classified ads in your local newspapers to learn which industries are hiring, which companies are hiring, and what the hot jobs are.
Start attending industry conferences, trade shows, business networking events and association meetings. Also, join professional networking sites such as LinkedIn.com (you can connect to me!) to get connected to industry leaders and company decision makers. Make it a priority to get connected, and stay connected, to people who can inspire you, hire you, or introduce you to potential employers.
3. Be a resource to others. Never give the impression that you’re hungry for a job. Instead, you want to be seen as someone who drives initiatives, solves problems and leads teams. This is one reason why you want to consult, freelance, or volunteer while you’re in between jobs.
Get personal with your professional network. Send out links to reports, case studies, press releases and websites that you think might interest those in your network. Invite them to business networking events, and introduce them to other movers and shakers. Influencers are drawn to those who are resourceful.
4. Give your resume the “it” factor. When it comes to resumes – looks are everything! If you’ve been applying for jobs that you’re qualified for, but you’re not getting the interviews, then you need a stronger resume.
Hiring managers can have stacks and stacks of resumes piled high on their desk which means that if your resume doesn’t have the “it” factor – you’re toast. Don’t lose out on a great job because your resume doesn’t stand up against your competition. Instead, invest in a professional resume critique. You’ll get specific strategies based on your goals, strengths and accomplishments to get the attention of hiring managers and put yourself in high demand!
5. Consider Hiring a Career Coach. Everyone has career bumps, so it’s completely normal to be stuck sometimes. The important thing is to have a strong support system in place of mentors and career coaches who can offer support and guidance.
A great career coach can give you the tools, support, and a step-by-step roadmap to help put your career back on track. Making an investment in a career coach means investing in yourself and your career, and could result in cutting your search time by as much as 50-percent, plus MORE money in your pocket with a higher starting salary.
The point is that if you’ve been unemployed or at a lower level position for longer than six months, then you need to shake things up! Try different career strategies and start thinking outside the box. And never, ever give up your drive, ambition and courage that it takes to move your career forward.
Your job is out there waiting for you. You just need to go get it!