Candidates often come to me and declare, “I need to change jobs because I want a bigger salary.”
When I probe and ask for more information, I am usually met with “well I’m thinking of buying a house”.
Great! Good for you!
In the history of recruitment, I am pretty sure a company has never declared on a job description that they would like to hire someone who was thinking of buying a house!
If you can’t answer: “because I’m worth it” with conviction when asked why you want a pay increase then you need to step back and start looking at how you can make yourself more valuable. There are so many ways to do this and it’s not very difficult, unless of course you don’t want to bother, in that case just keep moving jobs every year or two and hope we don’t see another recession!
Make yourself knowledgeable about the business you are working in. Understand who the competitor are, read articles relating to your industry, when you are next in a conversation with you boss, show your interest in the company by discussing your knowledge in a way that will benefit the company. This requires a long term approach, 1 article does not make you an expert. You would be surprised how many people who work in companies and don’t know who their competitors are. Talk about head in the sand!
Look for improvements to your current role. What could be done more efficiently? Look at processes, think of describing your role to someone new in the organization, are their any elements that you can’t actually answer why it is done that way? If there is, chances are there is a better way to do it. Keep note of every improvement to use at salary negotiation time.
Upskill, this seems like an obvious one, but there are so many options. An appropriate college course takes commitment while you are working full time so that shows you are dedicated to invest in your career, but its important to show the new learning in your current role. Start implementing changes and let your manager see the positive impact the course is having on you. So many people expect to get promoted just because they have completed a particular course, but if your employer hasn’t seen any changes in your work output, your contribution to the team, your impact at meetings then where is the return on investment? You can upskill yourself, with independent learning. Show your boss you don’t need to be fed everything, you can take opportunities to improve whichever area of your work you feel requires it, whether through expert networks online, joining groups appropriate to improving communication skills, force yourself out of your comfort zone!
Get the basics right – punctuality, are you always in work on time? Does ‘on time’ to you mean running into the office at 1 minute to 9 am? In reality by the time you get your coat to the cloakroom, get your cup of coffee and turn on your computer it’s already 9.10am and everyone else is settling into their morning routine without you! But at the other end of the day, you shut down at 5.25, get your coat on so that you are out the door at 5.30? Well if you aren’t going to take your career seriously why should your boss? I’m not saying get in at the crack of dawn, but make it look like it’s not an inconvenience to be there.
Managers will casually ask “how do you feel ‘Johnny’ is fitting in”, to other team members and here they hold your career in their response; ‘he’s a bit odd!’ ‘He can be cranky at times!’ ‘I’m not sure, he doesn’t say much!’ – Not exactly the kind of response you would hope for. What you want them to say is, ‘He’s really brought the team closer’, ‘His ideas are great’, ‘He helped me last month when I had a deadline!’ These are quite simply achieved.
Don’t stick to the same click in work, invite someone different to go for a walk at lunchtime, when you ask the question: How are you? Stop. Wait for the answer.
Be aware of what’s going on in your team. Is someone under pressure, offer to help, as it will come back to you when you are up against it. Make your colleagues your biggest ambassadors.
Go above and beyond, how many times do we measure ourselves against expectations and are happy to arrive at ‘meets expectations’. I’m not talking about all the time, but any opportunity you get to go further, take it. Consider your workload in the last week, what could you have done slightly differently that could have meant the difference between a good week and a great week?
Above all start making these changes now, talking about them or thinking about them isn’t going to get you to a successful salary negotiation!