Sometimes it seems like your friends are passing you by. One just bought a new car, and you can barely manage bus fare. Another just bought a big house, while you’re not always sure you’ll be able to pay the rent. You work just as hard as they do, but you feel like you’re putting in the same effort for far less reward. You would love a higher-paying job, but you aren’t quite sure how to get there. Keep reading for a few tips.
Make sure you’ve mastered your current job
There’s always more to learn, but if you’re still struggling to get your daily responsibilities done, you may want to think twice about trying for that higher-paying job. High compensation usually comes with a lot more responsibility and pressure. If you’re already struggling, you may not be ready for that.
Grow up and out
It’s important to expand your skill set, and that can mean a couple of different things. One way is to increase your competence within your profession. If you’re in finance, find out what certifications executives in finance possess, and start working on them now. Another way is to apply your profession in different settings. If you’ve been writing about HR topics, see if you can talk your boss into putting you on a project that involves writing about supply chain management. If you’ve been writing for a retail company, consider getting a job writing for a pharmaceutical company. The people who get those high-paying jobs tend to have both breadth and depth. In other words, they know a lot about their particular area, and they know a lot about applying it in a variety of industries.
Network, network, network
No matter how good you area, it won’t matter if you never get the chance to prove it. Duncan Mathison, author of the 2009 book, “Unlock the Hidden Job Market,” estimates that around 50 percent of jobs are filled informally, without ever going through an official posting process. It really is about who you know, in the sense that you have to be on someone’s radar before they can recommend you for an open position. Here are some great ways to meet the people who can help you get on the short list for those high-paying positions:
- Participate in professional organizations. Don’t just join; participate. Go to meetings and luncheons. Attend speaking events. Volunteer to help host a conference. Even if doing those things doesn’t help you meet the people who are hiring for the jobs you want, it may help you meet the people who know those people.
- Use social media. Don’t overlook the power of social media. Somebody who may never even consider setting up a lunch appointment just to meet you might be very willing to tweet an answer to a question. Social media give you the opportunity to build those relationships before you need them. If you want to work for a certain company and know the person who runs that department, follow them on Twitter or connect on LinkedIn. That accomplishes two things. First, you’ll be far more likely to hear of open positions. And, second, it won’t seem weird or rude for you to express interest like it would if you and the hiring manager had never communicated before.
- Establish yourself as a thought leader. If you’re sure you have what it takes to succeed in a high-paying job, one way to get there is to start acting like you already have that job. Start a blog and publicize your posts. Contribute to an industry newsletter or trade magazine. Share (and showcase) your knowledge by using social media to answer more questions than you ask. And those professional organizations? Let them know you’re available to speak, whether it’s giving a presentation at a meeting or acting as the keynote speaker at the next big event. If you start acting like you already have the job you want, there’s a good chance someone will mention your name the next time that job opens up.
When it comes to getting that higher-paying job, there are three main things you need to do: master what you’re doing now, learn to do more, and make sure that everybody knows about it. If you can accomplish those tasks, you’ll be ready for that job when it’s available.