How to add $30,000 to your salary in three years
Bet that title got your attention. The bad news is that there is no quick fix to adding an extra $30,000 to your salary in three years, but it can be done. It just takes a plan, and then some plain old hard work. I, for example, have spent the better part of a decade working towards my career goals, and I’m happy to say that this year I landed my dream job title. It wasn’t easy, and I took a bit of a roundabout way to get there, but I did it.
In the process, I also managed to almost double my salary in three years. If you had have told me seven years ago, fresh out of university, that I would be doing what I was doing and making what I was making I would never have believed you. But here I am, and here’s how I did it:
A study we conducted back in 2014 found that 51% of job seekers in our database intended to be or were in jobs for less than two years. Job hopping has become the new normal and employers are starting to see the benefit. Changing jobs more frequently means you are bringing strategies, operations, and challenges from other organizations in your industry.
The key is to look for a new job when you have a job. I do believe in loyalty but at the same time you have to keep an eye out for opportunities.
First and foremost, it’s important that you’re looking for jobs that help you get where you want to go career wise. Will it get you a step closer to your ideal job title? Does get your foot in the door of an industry or company you really want to be a part of? There’s no point in applying to jobs for the sake of applying; that’s not going to make you money and even if it does, you won’t be happy.
I’ve been told by friends in human resources that women are the worst when it comes to negotiation. For whatever reason we just don’t do it. But you have to. Negotiation won’t just improve your salary today; it will also help you make more long term. I was very lucky to have been raised by my father who is a stickler for negotiating (he’s been in sales his whole life). He has been my business guru from day one and I always rely on him to help me through negotiations. I strongly suggest you find someone (if you haven’t already), who you trust to help you make the right decisions and figure out what to say when negotiating contracts.
Unless you are getting your absolute dream job and they refuse to pay you more, I have a general rule to not accept less money than my current salary. You’ve worked hard enough to get to where you are, so why take a step back? Unless, like I said, it’s for your dream job and you’re going to ride off into the sunset on a unicorn with rose petals floating behind you.
When it comes to negotiation, I think it’s important to note that you can ask for anything under the sun if you wanted to. There’s one rule I live by in my personal and professional life; you’re not going to get what you want unless you ask for it. The worst that happens is that you get a no. Of course it’s likely you’ll be turned down if you ask for ‘sleep in Wednesdays’ or your own personal fridge but hey, it doesn’t hurt to ask, right?
A lot of people try to negotiate more vacation time into contracts, and I’m no exception. One trick I’ve been told is to ask for additional ‘personal days’ if your company won’t agree to more vacation. For whatever reason ‘personal days’ are considered in a different bracket than vacation so that could work in your favour. You can also try asking for remote working days, transportation allowance if your commute is far, new equipment, or even a signing bonus.
One of the best things I ever did was to go back to school. I didn’t go back full-time but I enrolled in night courses. I’m lucky enough that my field of work has a wide range of post-graduate certificates that I could choose from. Working towards a post-graduate certificate is a cost-effective and time conscious way of gaining more practical skills.
Of course, not every profession has a conventional method for additional education. If your field requires a professional degree there are lots of schools that offer courses at night and on the weekends. Alternatively, there are many different types of ‘schools’ popping up all over the place. Traditional schools are lagging behind when it comes to digital education and places like BrainStation or CampTech are filling that gap.
A willingness to learn is an incredibly valuable asset for many hiring managers. Even if you’ve got all of the degrees you possibly can in your field, taking extra courses proves that you have initiative.
Build a portfolio
Last but most certainly not least, it’s important to build a portfolio. Having a space where you can showcase your previous work and accomplishments makes you look good, and helps hiring managers.
Just about anyone can take advantage of doing this when it comes to career advancement. You can build a website for as little as $50. All you need is to buy a domain name and find a hosting provider. There are also many different websites that can help you pull together a portfolio if you’re not savvy enough to create your own website, including PortfolioBox, Crevado, and even Pinterest.
Remember to keep these updated and to check the links every so often as well. The last thing you want is a hiring manager to visit your profile but not be able to access any of your work.
So there you have it, four ways that helped me make an extra $30,000 in three years. Like I said, there is no quick fix – nothing just comes to you. It takes hard work, long hours, and determination, but it can be done.