Do you want to double your salary? If so, how long will it take you? Will your current job lead you to the salary you really want? Everyone wants more money, but taking a little time to understand where your salary is headed can help you to a bigger payday.
Here are 5 steps recommended by career experts to boost your career and your paycheck – no matter what industry you work in.
1. Identify your goals and timeline, and work backward to figure out what you need to do now.
Do you want to double your salary in the next five years? Write it down and hold yourself accountable. “Even for someone who’s at the beginning of their career, I tell them to go into it with the end in mind,” says Crystal Marsh, a career and business coach to millennials. “To achieve goals you have to look ahead: How much money do I want to make in five years? Then you work backward, and do the simple math of how much of a raise you need this year, the next, etc., to get to that point.”
So, if your salary is now $35,000 and you want to make $70,000 in five years, you’ll need an average increase of $7,000 a year. Or, you’ll need a promotion (or two) over the next five years. Research what your salary should be and also, what your salary could be for the next few levels up. Hopefully, you’ll get a good sense of how long it could take you, but make sure to be realistic with yourself. For some roles, five years could be pretty fast to double your pay, while for other roles, it could take 7 or even 10 years. The key is to understand this and determine if the current path works for you, or if you may need to make a job change or career transition at some point.
2. Prove to your employer that a raise for you is a good investment for them.
Employees who are motivated to move up and make more money tend to try to do everything, says Jenn DeWall, a life and career coach focused on millennial workers. But you won’t impress the boss by failing to delegate and manage your time.
Instead, “the smartest way to diversify your skills to is to align with your company’s mission,” DeWall says. “If the company’s number one priority is to grow the e-commerce business this year, take on projects that support that wider goal.”
When the raise or promotion conversation happens in the future, you’ll get bonus points for providing examples of work that had a direct financial impact to those company goals. DeWall says: “When it’s possible, it’s great when there’s a financial attached: ‘I led this project that increased business 3% this year.’” The bottom line - to increase your bottom line, it always helps to focus on improving and supporting what matters most to your company’s overall business goals, and not getting distracted with side projects that add only minimal value to the company.
3. Continue your education (but you don’t necessarily need an advanced degree).
“Far too often people think, ‘I’ll get a master’s and I’ll automatically move up to the next level,” says Alexandra Levit, author of They Don’t Teach Corporate in CollegeThey Don’t Teach Corporate in College. “But it depends on your industry. If you don’t have that very specific job that really requires an MBA, it might not be a good investment.” Attending a weekend course or taking the initiative to obtain a professional certification might be a better move for your specific career path. And don’t discount on-the-job training. “You can shadow someone at work to see how it’s done, or volunteer to manage a project and gain those supervisory skills,” Levit says.
To find out what education positions require, research job listings. For example, if you’re a sales executive, and eventually want to be promoted to a regional sales manager - read the job requirements to see if you need additional education, or more commonly, an added skillset that, in this case, a manager role would require.
4. Talk to your boss about a promotion, but accept that you might need to leave to make a serious pay jump.
You’ve aligned your goals with those of the company, taken on new projects and made a list of achievements that show you’re worth the extra cash. In an ideal world, your boss will agree wholeheartedly and give you the raise you want. If that doesn’t happen, know you’re not alone. “Especially when you’re young, you’re going to get the biggest bump moving to another company,” Levit says. “That’s just the way it is.”
If you’d like to stay at your current company, consider negotiating. You can use Glassdoor’s salary database to see what others are making at your company, or for the same job title, in your city. If the boss can’t or won’t bump the offer, it might be time to look elsewhere.
5. If it’s time to move, research salaries and negotiate offers.
Use your salary research to gain a solid understanding of the market both industry-wide and regionally, and be willing to walk away if the new company is offering you a salary below market range.
“You’ll feel much more confident when you’re armed with the knowledge to assess whether an offer is within a decent range,” Levit says. “I would say at least get to the midpoint, and in some cases, maybe even closer to the top. You’re in your best bargaining position before you start the job – it’s your chance to make that big leap.”
With these 5 tips, you should be on your way to doubling your salary.