Position Yourself to Get a Great Salary

Since you have to spend your days working, you might as well make lots of money.  How can you position yourself so that you bring in the highest possible salary?  Here are some guidelines that may help:

Industry.  The industry that you are working in will significantly impact your earning potential.  For example, the banking industry generally pays more than the non-profit industry.  Conduct some labour market research to determine which industries offer a higher compensation.  It is also useful to research the organizations specifically to determine their compensation policy.  Organizations either pay above, below, or at the market level.

Position.  Even within the same industry or organization, different positions will vary considerably in terms of their compensation level.  Research your target job to determine the average salary.  Usually, jobs that are more specialized, and involve a higher level of responsibility will pay more.  Try to position yourself so that you would be a good fit for one of these higher level jobs.  Also, don’t forget the law of supply and demand.  If you can acquire some relevant skills that few other applicants possess, you will have the ability to negotiate a higher salary. 

Negotiate your salary.  Many people are reluctant to negotiate their salary.  If you overcome your discomfort about discussing money, it will pay you dividends.  When you are afraid to discuss money with a potential employer, it puts you in a weak position.  In many cases, you will end up getting paid less than you are worth.  You have worked hard to acquire your skills and experience.  Don’t sell yourself short.

Dress the part.  Employers will be more likely to offer you a higher salary if you look like you are worth the money.  If you are dressed in your weekend grubby clothes, you will be compensated accordingly.

Networking.  Since you have been working hard to build your network, you will be happy to know that it is valuable to potential employers.  If you have a healthy network that can further the organization’s goals, then you can use it as leverage in your salary negotiations.  Also, the contacts in your network may be able to alert you to any well-compensated job opportunities.

Goals.  Right now, you may not be where you want to be in terms of your compensation level.  If this is the case, then now is the time for you to set goals.  Where do you want to be in one year, in three years, and in five years?  What do you need to do to get there?  What experiences should you be seeking out?  What type of training do you need?  Who do you need to connect with? If you set clear goals now, you can focus your efforts and attain that target salary.

While a big salary is nice, it isn’t everything.  There are many other factors that can make a job appealing.  Once you have ensured that you are are making enough money to support your family, and that you are being compensated fairly, take the time to consider the intrinsic rewards of the job.  You may even be happier with less compensation if the position allows you to learn a new skill, or to make a difference in your community.

(Written By:  Karen Bivand, Photo From: FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

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