You must never underestimate the importance of improving your skills as you advance in your career. After all, every successful person has spent a considerable amount of time learning and developing their skills at some point.
However, as the professional world becomes increasingly competitive and is constantly changing, this is more imperative than ever. If not, you’re going to miss out on new opportunities — and potentially more money.
With that in mind, here are 11 ways to increase your pay and grow at work.
1. Develop yourself personally.
It is vital to learn personal development skills to create a strategic and practical plan for professional and personal development.
How can you enhance your personal development skills? Some examples are learning from others, taking classes, and adding to or improving your skills. But, you can also try the following strategies to develop yourself personally and advance in your career.
You can’t develop and progress if you’re afraid. To overcome a fear of public speaking, you might join a group that teaches people how to speak effectively. Or, consider starting a conversation at a networking event or introducing yourself to a new person if you are shy.
You can build your confidence and make good decisions with the help of a mentor if you are afraid of taking risks. Trying things that may feel uncomfortable can help you grow and learn.
Keeping informed and expanding your knowledge can be achieved by reading. Reading can also improve your critical thinking skills and stimulate your mind. Aim to read at least one article each day or one book each month that is educational or motivational. We ask that our employees read at least this much — personally, I read at least one book a week and have done this consistently for years and years.
Write in a journal.
Daily or weekly journaling can help you become aware of yourself, reflect on recent events and decisions, and learn from your mistakes. Your journal might be hand-written, or you may wish to blog about your experiences and thoughts. Journaling can also be helpful in assessing your progress and setting goals.
Keep an eye on the people who inspire you and learn from them. An example could be a supervisor, family member, or public figure that you respect. Consider the traits you admire in them and try to imitate them in your own career.
Be an active listener.
An essential part of being an effective communicator is listening to others. Understanding what your co-workers and clients are saying will allow you to remember what they say and respond appropriately. You should have professional listening and communication skills, whether addressing a phone call or interviewing for a job.
Meditating can help you to reduce stress and anxiety, gain clarity, and increase self-awareness. Focusing on your self-development and goals while meditating can help you stay positive, calm, and focused. Relaxing and focusing can be achieved even with a short break from work.
Prepare your time, work, and materials in advance.
You can accomplish tasks more quickly and easily if you plan ahead. When you have several tasks at hand, know what to prioritize. An organized and disciplined individual may be better able to meet deadlines and work together more effectively.
2. Keep tabs on your wins and losses.
Tracking your victories is a great way to improve your motivation at work and recognize your true worth. Of course, this might not be something you’re used to doing if you’re modest. But it’s not like you have to purchase a billboard here. Instead, write down your wins, both big and small, in your journal weekly or monthly.
What about time wins? Describe the role you played in its success. With time, wins will become a clear indication of a specific skill set, whether leadership, project management, or technical expertise.
Additionally, you’ll find writing a cover letter or updated resume more manageable when you keep track of your accomplishments.
At the same time, you should also record your losses.
You may have made a simple mistake that caused you to get reprimanded. It could even be big, like missing a deadline or losing a client. Regardless, mistakes are one of the most effective ways to learn and grow.
3. Level up.
You’re more valuable when you possess more career skills—as such, having additional qualifications is a surefire way to put forward a compelling case for your salary increase. Or, this can improve your chances of receiving a promotion or landing a better-paying job.
Training on the job, online certifications, and continuing education courses can all benefit your career. In addition, several employers may provide tuition assistance and cover the cost of new training. For more information about the policies at your workplace, speak with your HR representative. Even if you’re a freelancer, your clients may be willing to cover your continuing education.
4. Seek out feedback.
If you have recently completed an important project or achieved an important goal, ask a family member, friend, colleague, or manager for feedback. Take advantage of both constructive criticism and positive comments to measure your progress and ensure that you’re on the right path.
5. Emulate your favorite talk show host.
Whether you’re a fan of Letterman, Oprah, Conan, Ellen, or Fallon, you can certainly mimic some of their attributes. For example, they’re all confident in who they are. They’re also outgoing, have a passion for connecting with others, and can think on the fly.
Moreover, they have thick skin so that they can handle negative feedback. Finally, and most importantly, they’re all excellent at marketing themselves and their own unique brands.
6. Take on more responsibilities.
This is an excellent way to signal to others that you’re ready and capable of more responsibilities. Increased responsibilities are also a good indicator as a base for a salary increase.
In addition, you may want to ask your employer if you can assist in some of their managerial tasks. As an added perk, this allows you to learn more about the processes involved.
At the same time, don’t overextend yourself. If your calendar is already jampacked, wait to do this until it’s not as cluttered. Need help getting started? Here are a couple of tips you can use to declutter your calendar;
- Acknowledge that you can’t do everything within a day. As such, you may have to eliminate certain items from your schedule.
- Take an inventory of your calendar and track your time.
- Question all of your recurring events.
- Delete old tasks that can be either deleted or outsourced to someone else.
- Use the “Rule of Three” by only focusing on your three top priorities.
Elvis may have popularized the phrase, “Taking Care of Business.” Mine? “Always Be Networking.”
To advance your career, you must network. Whatever your goal, you want to be able to have support and assistance from those around you. No matter their industry, all professionals need to know how to network. It’s been reported that a whopping 85% of jobs are secured via networking.
Also, through communicating and working with different types of people, you can learn new ideas and develop communication skills. It’s also possible for you to develop relationships that could be useful in the future.
Attend conferences and events on topics that interest you, or join industry organizations and shared interest groups. You can also pencil-in meetups. And definitely utilize online networking by joining relevant LinkedIn groups.
8. Pursue mentorships.
Over 30 years of research shows that employees with a mentor earn higher compensation, receive more promotions, and are more satisfied with their careers than those without a mentor.
Identify a mentor who has achieved the success you hope to achieve. By learning from their experiences, including both successes and failures, you can make more informed decisions. As a result, this can minimize workplace mistakes and advance your career.
However, make sure your mentor is a good fit for you. They hold (or held) the position you seek is no guarantee that you’ll click. To make such a relationship work, you have to find someone you respect and can connect with.
Ask a professional you trust for guidance and advice if you are unsure. In addition, you might find it worthwhile to work with two or more mentors who represent different facets of your field.
9. Master the art of negotiating.
While this may not always be top of mind, negotiation is an essential skill that you’ll use across all aspects of your life. Want a better credit card rate? Negotiate? Want the salary or promotion you deserve? You guessed it. Negotiate.
Prepare yourself with research, numbers (if applicable), and potential outcomes before requesting anything. The key to a successful negotiation will be your ability to present confidently and persuasively. Remember, it will take practice to master this skill. So, be patient until you feel that you’ve mastered this skill.
And, if you don’t think that becoming a proficient negotiator is worth it, Mandi Woodruff-Santos would beg to differ.
“I started my first full-time job in 2010, at age 22,” she told CNBC. “Since then, I’ve quit jobs six times — increasing my salary by nearly $194,000, and by an average of 39% each time I left for a new opportunity.”
“I went from making $31,200 per year in 2010 to $225,000 per year in 2020,” she adds. “And that’s just the base salary; when you factor in the signing bonuses I negotiated, I added an additional $160,000 to my income during those 10 years. Now, at 34, I’m on track to achieve a net worth of $1 million by my 40th birthday.”
Here are some of her tips to keep in mind;
- Don’t quit your job just for a bigger paycheck
- Never be the first to give a number
- Practice negotiation skills when the stakes are low
- The first offer isn’t always the final offer
- Negotiate by phone instead of email
- It’s not all about the base salary
- Gut check your offer with trusted mentors
10. Do not be afraid to ask questions.
“There are naive questions, tedious questions, ill-phrased questions, questions put after inadequate self-criticism. But every question is a cry to understand the world. There is no such thing as a dumb question.” — Carl Sagan
Always ask questions using the open lines of communication you have. When you do, you’ll find out about specific workplace changes, upcoming projects, and chances to continue your education.
Also, the more questions you ask throughout your career, the more engaged you are as an employee. And the more you are dedicated to learning and progressing within the organization. What’s more, whenever you need help, you’ll already have a rapport with people at work who are willing to lend a hand.
11. Give back.
If you can fit this into your schedule, volunteering is a win-win. For starters, you’re helping others. Of course, that is awesome, but it also makes you feel like a million bucks.
Another perk? Volunteering allows you to enhance or develop new skills. These could be soft skills, such as communication or collaboration skills. You can use these in both your personal and professional lives. There’s also a chance to hone in on your existing hard skills so that you can work smarter and faster.
If that’s not enough — volunteering offers a chance to expand your network.
While you can do this on your own time, you could show some initiative by making recommendations on how your business or employer can change the world. As an example, according to Amnesty International, you could support refugees by;
- Enable team members. A corporate volunteering program could be created to join during work hours. Also, consider creative fundraising ideas like donating a day’s pay.
- Use your company’s purpose to create a social impact. For example, a social network giant might partner with non-profits to alleviate the unemployment rate; an internet provider might extend service to refugee camps, or a bakery might offer training programs.
- Create opportunities. Despite having excellent education and skills, many refugees have difficulty accessing employment due to government policy, discrimination, etc. The documentation required, costs, etc., can also make recruiting refugees challenging for employers. Companies could urge governments to make refugee hiring easier by changing laws and policies.
Image Credit: Christina Morillo; Pexels; Thank you!