How to Lock down a Raise

Most employees have had the thought: am I being paid enough for what I do? Maybe you’re a high-powered executive who’s swimming in bonuses and perks, but for most of us the answer is a resounding NO, we aren’t being paid enough!

According to the Conference Board, 53% of American workers are unhappy at work. If you’re in that number and low pay is the reason, you’re probably curious how you can improve your bottom line.

So, how do you get the paycheck you deserve? Cost of living raises are nice, but a promotion is the way to really improve your take home number. We’ve got a checklist you should run through if you’re interested in seeing your salary take a serious jump by taking the next step in your career.

1 – Evaluate your job’s upward mobility.

Here’s the truth: some positions are dead ends. Does your department operate in isolation from other parts of the company? Is your employer a small corporation unlikely to grow significantly?

If you’re unsure what your chances for promotion may be in your current position, it may be time to talk to HR, or to your boss, and ask how you can grow within the company. It’s a good idea to know what the path to advancement is so you can plan accordingly. And keep in mind, if you want more from your career, but your current position is a dead end—it might be time to start shopping around!

2 – Are you really qualified for a promotion?

This is a loaded question. And there are two areas of your qualifications you need to evaluate. Firstly, are you putting in the effort required to receive a promotion? You generally need to be able to show how you’ve earned an advancement. Have you been meeting quotas, or deadlines? Are you known for being dependable? All of those questions will come into play when you’re being evaluated for the next job up the corporate ladder.

Secondly, do you have the skills required for a promotion? Experience is worth a lot, but in most corporations, if you don’t have a bachelor’s degree you will be ineligible for most executive positions. Or do you need a graduate degree? Education is often one of the quickest ways to put yourself squarely in the running for a promotion. Always talk to your human resources department to ask about any programs your employer may offer education problems including tuition matching or even full tuition. Learning about education programs available through your job is also a great way to feel empowered that your employer wants to help you get ahead.

Even if your job doesn’t have a program to help you get a degree, there are many online colleges and universities with flexible programs designed for working people just like you.

3 – Now pursue that promotion!

It may seem obvious, but actually taking the step to begin applying for promotions when they come up is the next step to take. If your boss didn’t know you were very interested in advancement, they may be surprised to see you apply. Often you’ll need to apply for more than one position to show just how serious you are about climbing that corporate ladder!