Within the scope of any industry, some people are high earners and others are not. Many more are somewhere in the middle. Some people manage to top out their salary in every position, but for most, there is room for growth. If you are feeling good about your job but you feel your salary should be higher, there are ways to boost your earning power.
Of course, you need to know how to properly do your job. If someone else is constantly holding your hand or cleaning up your messes, you cannot expect to be in the top bracket for earnings for your position. Just because you know how to do your job, and do it well, does not mean that you will be paid the highest possible salary. People want to work with people that they enjoy being around. That does not mean you need to roll over on every request or jump to complete any busywork that is available. Basic likability means you are easy to work with, you don’t go looking for conflict, and you do what you say you will do, in the time frame you agree to. If a delay crops up, you get in touch with those who will be affected and let them know immediately, rather than at the last minute. Being likable makes people want to keep you around, which gives you strength during negotiations.
Be Confident in Your Work
Imposter syndrome is real, and it can affect every facet of your job. If you are doing your job and getting a few complaints, you are probably fine. That doesn’t stop feelings about inferiority to creep in. Having confidence in your work gives you the strength to stand up for yourself when there is conflict, and allows you to take the lead in projects because you know your skills are valuable. If you find yourself wrestling with imposter syndrome, take time to examine yourself and try to determine where it comes from. If you have stepped into your career indirectly, it is easy to feel that luck, rather than skill, landed you the job. While luck may have had something to do with your current employment, the same can be said for many people and that doesn’t mean you are not capable.
For individuals with less formal education than their peers, imposter syndrome can be particularly difficult to overcome. Maybe now is the time to go to school for that degree, or perhaps start work on your master’s. The confidence you gain will be valuable to your career. Many programs can be scheduled around your existing job, and there are online options for nearly any degree. By taking out student loans you can minimize the impact on your family’s life while earning your degree. Once you graduate, you will be well-suited to maximize your earning potential.
Prepare for Negotiating Sessions
When it is time to talk compensation, treat the process just as you would any other type of negotiating. If you buy a car, you don’t go out to the lot and purchase the first thing that catches your eye. Perform the same amount of research you would when making a major purchase when you are ready to negotiate salary. It is important to know compensation levels for your job, of course, but you also must be prepared to talk about exactly why you deserve to be paid more than average. What skills do you have that impacts the company, that they are not going to get from someone else? Spend time thinking of the counter-arguments they may have, and consider how you will address those.
Know if You Are Willing to Walk
The fact is, often the easiest way to grow your compensation is to move to a different company. The change to a new company may come with a better title and significantly improved earnings. Of course, money isn’t everything, and this is where you have to make a decision. If you love everything about your job except your salary, are you happy enough with what you earn to keep everything else the same? If you are more ambivalent about your current job, the decision to move to another company can be easier, although you won’t know until you get there.