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- How to increase your salary without changing your job
Let’s not delude ourselves: You’ll have to do or be more to increase your salary.
But you don’t have to change your job. Handy if you love what you do!
Understand that anyone senior to you must be able to justify your raise to someone higher. Therefore, whining or pleading won’t work (not for long). And if your boss is the owner of the company, he or she will be the hardest person to convince – they know that every penny counts.
You do a great job, but you’ve previously been underpaid? Tough, it’s too late to moan now. You lost that fight when you signed up.
I’m serious! You’ve already been pigeonholed and to get the pay you deserve you have to show you can fly – either for the company, or if you must then away from the company.
While I was employed I consistently earned at least 25-50% more than my peers in identical roles, even ignoring bonuses.
Here are my ten top tips on increasing your salary.
1. Believe you’re worth more money
The most important step. Sounds very self-help-ish, but it’s true.
You need to radiate a belief that you’re a higher earner, and you need to believe it. If you do, more responsibility will come towards you, which is the key to earning more.
2. Know what your job is
When I’ve employed someone, I’ve had a very clear idea what they critically need to achieve. They may do other stuff, it may be great, but if they’re not doing what I’m watching then they could be baking donuts.
Companies can be bad at communicating this stuff. Find out what your job really is, then make sure you’re doing it.
(Hint: your job is not to sit in front of a PC every day. That’s a side effect).
3. When at work, live and breath for your boss
Forget yourself for a moment. Think hard about how to improve the daily working life of whoever decides your salary, and then improve it.
I don’t mean pathetically sucking up, which anyone sensible hates. I mean making their work more effective.
4. Do the dirty work
Is there a role you’d like and/or you’d be good at, that’s vital, and that nobody wants? Take it – or make it up and then take it.
Sales is a good example; most people don’t want to sell, and selling ultimately makes the money.
5. Find out what you’re really worth
Don’t daydream or get bitter over a fantasy. Cautiously shop around to discover your going rate.
Fact: big raises come when you move. But you don’t want to issue an ultimatum or appear disloyal, if the aim is to keep and improve your current position. You just want to show you’re ready for more, and to be equipped with the facts to set your targets.
(If you discover you’re not actually worth more, take emergency action!)
6. Follow the money, if you can
If your work isn’t a vocation, then try to align your role with profit centers (sales or product delivery) rather than costs (support or product development).
I know, I know, it’s products and services that ultimately make the money. But this is a pragmatic guide. It’s far easier to get more money when you’re bringing it in, compared to when you’re another outgoing.
7. Understand the money if you can’t
If it’s impossible for you to move into sales or management – you’re a star programmer or a graphic designer, say – then befriend the sales team to discover how your output makes them money.
Take an interest in your role in the grand money-making side of things; most of your peers won’t. Use this knowledge to make more money for the company, and parley that into a raise!
8. Be unique
Don’t compare yourself with your colleagues. For a start, it looks bitchy.
More importantly, you’re telling your boss you’re in the same bracket as lazy Rachel or over-paid Bob, even if your point is you’re better.
Sorry, that’s just the way our brains work.
9. Anything else they can do for you?
Perhaps your company really can’t pay your more money right now. Your research from steps 6 and 7 should tell you if that’s true.
Is there some non-monetary benefit that’s of equal value to you personally?
Pension contributions, or extra holiday time, working from home time, or maybe a 4-day week provided you deliver? Something will be negotiable.
10. Find out what’s wrong with you
I’ll admit hearing even constructive criticism is the thing I found hardest when I was an employee. But if you’re not getting a raise and you’re not going to follow my escape pod and go freelance (which solves a multitude of problems) then you need to ask and be prepared to hear what’s stopping you getting the income you desire.
This is after the negotiating phase, so don’t whine or argue back. Listen, learn, fix, out-perform, then go back for more – money, preferably, but failing that more advice until the money eventually follows.
Go for it!
Trust me, good people who deliver what they say they will are incredibly rare.
Most people are half-arsed. Become a good person who delivers, and the money will follow.
If you think I’m wrong, then you’re not good enough yet – or your job is beyond saving and you need to move after all!
Readers: Do you have any more tips on how to increase your salary without changing jobs? Share them below!