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If you are trying to pay off debt and save more money, I totally recommend increasing your income. After reading Dave Ramseys: How to pay off debt article, I learned that I could pay off my debt faster if I boosted the amount of money I was bringing each month. My husband and I were also enrolled in a first time homebuyer course because we wanted to buy a home shortly after we got married because we wanted to have a family soon (We are in our early thirties). We decided that we needed to pay down as much consumer debt as possible before we brought in a house and kids into our situation. I was also working in a position that I did not like at the time (very miserable) so I decided I wanted two things: 1. Make more money 2. Get a better job! So when I got started on my job hunt, I decided to make some BIG changes to my job search strategy that helped me win big! ($15,000 more BIG). Here are the steps I took to boost my salary like a boss!:
1. Got educated:
I started to read some career books and blogs to see how I could achieve my goal. I frequented blogs such as TheMuse.com, and CareerBuilder.com blog. One thing I learned in my journey is that when you want a higher salary you may have to apply for jobs outside the company you currently work for. You have to present yourself as a good fit for the position (in your resume and your interview), you can pretty much command as much salary as the market demands. So I kept that in mind as I started looking for a higher paying jobs outside of the company I worked for. I was concerned about revealing my prior salary to my potential employer, but I learned to never give it to them unless they ask (from this article on the Monster.com blog), and if they do ask, I tell the truth, but be prepared to give them the market salary that I should be making, which lead me to my next step.
2. Researched Potential Job titles and salaries: I decided to research top paying jobs that were a good fit for my background and skills. I knew that there were potential higher paying finance jobs out there, but I had to find them. The best place to start is industry websites in the field that you are in, in my case I started with Finance/Accounting industry websites. These groups should have support to help you navigate your career and find out what you could be making with each job title. I also used websites such as salary.com and indeed.com to do salary and job title research. I also considered job titles that I had never held before, as long as I was confident at how my previous experiences and skills qualified me for the job, I decided to consider it as a potential new role for me.
3. Practiced Interviewing: In order to make myself more marketable and more confident in interviews, I decided to start practicing by doing mock interviews. I used my then boyfriend, now husband as my interviewer and I was the interviewee. I went to career websites such as BigInterview.com and made a list of questions that he could ask me so I can simulate the real interview experience. I made sure to showcase how I would be a good fit based on the job requirements and matching it with my background and skills. I would suggest practicing interviewing way before recruiters call you in for interviews, you want to sound confident that you know who you are and what you can bring to the table! The more you practice beforehand the more confident and knowledgeable you will sound to them.
4. Started Networking: I decided to tap into my network and to see who was hiring! I started with family and friends first because they usually have your best interest at hand when you are trying to better yourself! My parents knew people at their church that could give me tips and advice on what I needed to do in order to score a better job and pay. Then I branched out and started going to industry networking events to meet other people in my industry to keep in touch with and inquire about new career opportunities that may be at the companies they work for. The best two sites for networking for a job are linkedin.com and meetup.com.
5. Tailored my resume for the job: I learned how to improve my resume and tailor it for the job I am applying for instead of using the generic resume that only lists my prior employment and education. I used a FREE Microsoft word resume template and crafted a resume that was tailored to the position that I was applying to. There are all kinds of books and courses on writing a resume, one of the best courses I recommend is the Writing Winning Resumes and Cover Letter course I found on coursera.org, which is a site I recommend if you want to learn new skills for FREE!
6. Remained patient: It took me about 7 months to secure this new role at another company. It may take you longer, unfortunately, but you must not give up! One of the greatest lessons in life I have learned is that “good things take time” and this is so true when you are trying to move into a higher paying position that makes more money. Generally, companies are trying to hire the right one! But if you tailor your resume and give a killer interview that shows them that you are the best fit then you will make their lives much easier!
6. Negotiated my salary: After I successfully applied to the jobs I wanted, tailored my job to the position and did a killer interview, I got a job offer!!! So I had to negotiate my salary! I asked for the market rate salary of what I researched early on in my job search, which was $12,000 more than the salary I was currently making, PLUS $6,000 more. The company gave me a counteroffer of 50% of what I asked for, which was $3,000 more and I was happy about that. I learned to always ask for more of what you really want, so if they negotiate it back down you really got what you want in the first place! I used PayScale.com’s guides to negotiating a job offer to get me started.
Overall, getting myself PREPARED for what I wanted, helped me GET what I wanted and that was a big boost in salary ($15,000 to be exact) and a better job! You have to know what you want and then position yourself to receive it otherwise you’re being very passive about life thinking everything is going to fall into your lap. In my case I already had the skills to get the jobs, I had to present myself better than all of the other job candidates. If you have to go out and get educated or volunteer for free to gain some extra skills, by all means, do what you have to do! You have to go after want you want in life and be aggressive about your goals!