Want a bigger paycheck? Of course you do. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to get a job where you can make money — lots of it. In fact, 63 percent of workers said compensation was "very important" to overall job satisfaction, a recent Society for Human Resource Management survey found.
Unfortunately, the average raise is only 3 percent, according to WorldatWork’s 2017 Salary Budget Survey. So how can you make money fast instead of waiting for your salary to grow over time? By revving up your job search to focus on jobs that pay well. That sounds obvious, but there’s actually a science behind it.
Wharton management professor Matthew Bidwell found that external hires get paid, on average, 18 percent to 20 percent more than internal workers who get promoted to the same position. Translation: To see a big pay increase, switch companies.
But how exactly do you find the highest paying jobs in today’s competitive workplace? The answer is pretty straightforward.
Establish yourself as an expert in your field
To make yourself more attractive to prospective employers, you should focus on not only building your brand but also marketing yourself as an expert in your industry, says Thea Kelley, a job search and interview coach in San Francisco. She says there are a number of ways to do this:
• Look for opportunities to speak at industry conferences
• Find podcasts or online radio shows that will welcome you as a guest
• Write about your field either on a blog or self-published eBook
• Post regularly on social media
• Create informative videos and a YouTube channel
• Pick up part-time work as a consultant
Taking these steps can also help you gain exposure to recruiters and headhunters.
Cross-train to learn skills
One of the best ways to strengthen your resume is to demonstrate you’ve pushed yourself to learn skills to boost your areas of expertise. To achieve that, you’ll need to create cross-training opportunities for yourself, says Teri DePuy, a Colorado-based career coach at ICC Innovate Coach Consult. "You don’t just want to go to your boss and say, ‘I want to learn more about our marketing department.’?"
A better tactic, she says, is to ask for permission to work on a specific project or task — and offer something in return. For example, "Bob in IT is willing to let me shadow him for a day. Can I do that and then share with our team what I learned?"
Develop leadership skills
No matter how much the job market shifts, one skill that’s always in demand is leadership. You have an advantage if you’re already in a management position, since you’re developing your leadership ability just by overseeing direct reports. But if you’re not a supervisor yet, there are other ways to develop leadership skills.
You can offer to mentor an entry-level employee, lead a training seminar or develop a volunteer program to improve the company’s image. Craig Toedtman, an executive coach in Blue Bell, Pa., says you can also sharpen your leadership skills outside your job by taking an executive position at a professional association or nonprofit.
Research companies’ financial health
Before you apply to jobs, create a list of employers that are hiring that you’d like to work for and do an analysis of each company’s financial health and stability. The better off they are financially, the more likely they are to pay employees well.
You can research this a few ways. If it’s a public company, look at recent quarterly earnings reports to see profit margins and net sales. (Those are good indicators of financial growth.) If it’s a private business, you may have to do a little more digging by looking at reviews on Kununu to see if the company is known for good compensation and career development.
Take smart risks
To make a big salary leap, you’ll likely have to push yourself outside your comfort zone and apply to high-paying jobs that might seem like a stretch.
"Disregard the barriers to entry," says Toedtman. "If you see a job you want, and you feel you can do it well, don’t hesitate to apply."
Focus on what you bring to the table and how you can add value to the company’s bottom line. Give examples that demonstrate you’re a problem solver who can take on challenges and turn them into accomplishments.
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