In the personal finance world, there needs to be more talk about how to increase your salary. Cutting back expenses and budgeting is all great, but it still provides some limitations.
Making more money (while challenging at times) has no real cap on how much you can earn. It also can have a major impact on your future finances and quality of life.
There is no question about it, increasing my salary has helped me achieve a higher savings rate, allowed me to travel more, not stress about cost of living, and be able to handle unexpected expenses.
Below are some tips on how to increase your salary and be properly compensated for your skills. These are all things I applied in my own pursuit of making more money out of my career.
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Increasing Your Salary Is Not Always Easy
Before I jump in, increasing your salary at work is not going to be simple for everyone. Each profession is different, which may make it easier or harder than others to make a higher salary.
That being said, I think a majority of the tips below can still be applied and used to help you get paid more from your 9-5. If anything, it may ignite a spark of what you need to do more specifically to ensure you get a better salary range.
Additionally, I wrote this because the majority of us have 9-5 gigs and not everyone is or wants to be an entrepreneur.
I’m in an interesting spot, because I love working for startups (My full-time job), but I also love working for myself and creating my own business (i.e Invested Wallet).
But the below has helped me get:
- 16% increase from 2014 to 2015
- 57% increase from 2016 to 2017
- 14% increase from 2017 to 2018
- 25% increase from 2019 to 2020
Ways to Increase Your Salary This Year
1. Ask Yourself If You Are in the Right Career Path
Before investing any time in ways to increase your salary, it’s important to be honest with yourself.
Are you in the right career path?
I went to college for graphic design, but by graduation I realized it wasn’t professionally going to be for me.
Fortunately, I had a computer science degree and a minor in communications which were helpful in me securing my first job in email marketing.
A CS degree is not exactly related to email marketing, but the company liked my educational background and that I understood technology.
However, I was stuck in a low-paying job for just over four years, but I realized digital marketing was the career that got me excited.
This helped me understand a lot about what I needed to do and how to get where I wanted after I was let go in 2014.
The best thing you can do is ensure you find a career path you are going to love and can make a decent living from. It doesn’t have to make you a millionaire, but it should be a great work-life balance.
2. Keep Track of Your Work Accomplishments
Okay, now that we got the above a bit out of the way, here is the first tip on how to increase your salary. You need to be proactive in keeping track of your work accomplishments.
While your manager may be awesome and can see your work ethic, they most likely are not keeping track (or can) of all the good work you do.
Write down big accomplishments or milestones within your job and stay organized.
When you have these ready to go, you have an arsenal of items to share during performance reviews. Or you can send them to management as weekly updates of highlights from the past week.
You’ll need to get on your company’s radar in some way that shows your value. This way you’ll have more leverage to make more money or ask for more.
Plus, if you end up looking for a new job you’ll have some nice highlights for your resume to shine.
3. Shadow Other Co-Workers and Learn
If you are looking to move up and be promoted to make more money, a great step is to learn from others.
Ask a few colleagues to show you what they are working on or how something works (when they are not super busy).
Even if you do not become an expert in something they show you, you’ll have a good understanding at how something operates and can speak to it.
This not only shows initiative in your current job but helps you learn new skills that can be applied to a raise or future salary negotiations.
For me being in digital marketing, I had a few specific job duties. But I knew if I wanted to make more money or get to the next level, I’d have to learn a lot.
For example, I did not know much about paid advertising but one of my colleagues did. So in the mornings I’d sit with him for 15-20 mins and learn. I now manage a six-figure plus advertising budget besides my other job duties.
4. Teach Yourself New Skills Outside of Work
Besides learning from other colleagues, you’ll also have to teach yourself additional skills outside of your job.
This can be doing things on your own, taking certifications, or paying for some online classes (tons out there, and of course don’t go into major debt over this).
Yes, that means you can’t binge watch your favorite Netflix or Hulu show every night!
I kid, many of you also have busy hectic family lives, so time can be challenging. But find ways to learn, read, or take a course to improve your knowledge.
For digital marketing, there are a few free online certifications that enhanced my knowledge and are from reputable names.
This added value immediately to my worth, but I also learned a lot more. I also had a music blog back in the day, which was useful in teaching me other marketing skills.
Also, look at what you need to learn for next-level job positions. See where you’re missing some skills or experience. Again, in many professions identifying new skills to master is easier than others.
5. Research Market Value On Your Career
A mistake a lot of people make is not staying up on the latest market research of your job title, industry, and the current salary information.
It’s easy to not really think about this, I ignored mine for the first five years of my career!
But keeping tabs on the various pay scales and career sites (like Glassdoor) for example can give you a good idea of current demand. It can help you evaluate your career in a few cool ways:
- Evaluate your current salary compared to others with that title
- Salaries based on locations around the world
- What other job titles in your field are making (your earning potential)
- Salary and company reviews from past or current employees
While the data is not 100% full proof, it gives you a great idea of where things stand. There are a few other sites out there besides Glassdoor too.
But bringing this along in performance reviews or a new job can help you leverage a better-paying salary. By not doing my research, I was definitely leaving some money on the table.
6. Ask for A Raise That You Deserve
The average pay raise in 2019 is expected to be about 3.1%, the highest since 2008 (Aon). Which is some good news! But, not everyone gets that nor is 3% adding much to your paychecks to make a big financial difference.
I also don’t want you to think that’s an ungrateful or greedy stance, but previously I only got 2-3% in my already low salary at the time.
It didn’t make a great impact on my finances.
But, when it is time for an annual raise or your review, straight up ask for a higher percentage! If you have your accomplishments, salary research, and are prepared, it doesn’t hurt to just ask and show some of your intel.
Many managers will work with you on compensation if you prove your value and case, which will be easier from these above tips.
Sure, it might be a bit scary or intimidating to ask, but you never know the response if you don’t ask.
7. Look For a New Job In Your Field
If you aren’t getting the raise you want (or haven’t got one at all), start looking elsewhere. You might be afraid of being labeled as a “job hopper,” but moving companies for better opportunities is not a bad thing.
Improving your skills, researching, showing your accomplishments, and asking for what you are worth might not be enough to get a raise in your current job.
To put that frankly, it blows when that happens.
Sure, you might get that 1-3% raise, but that is not going to amount to much financially. **See above where I state this, sorry for the repeat**
If this is the case, it’s time to look elsewhere and find a job that will pay you better and hopefully, also make you happier.
However, ensure your salary asks or raises are realistic. For example, if you know your market value is $80,000/year currently and that’s on the high end, don’t ask for $150,000.
I know my generation (millennials) gets a bad wrap with the job-hopping mentality and always taking a new job offer. But sometimes that is completely necessary if you aren’t being valued.
Increasing your salary will be essential for boosting your financial well-being. This, of course, is if you can keep the lifestyle creep in check and practice good personal finances habits.
But making more money is a part of most people’s goal in their careers and you should be paid a great salary for your hard work and knowledge.
While you may apply these above tips, just be aware you may need to be patient. It took me five years to go from a pretty low salary to now getting closer to six-figures (which was my goal to hit).