Do you look for every financial edge you can get? Do you use
coupons, shop for savings account rates and research stocks? All of
these are important, but you also shouldn't overlook how sensible
career management techniques can help boost the amount of money you
receive in the first place.
What's at stake is your chance to get ahead financially.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, over the past 10 years
(as of June 30, 2013), total civilian compensation had risen by
just 29.3 percent. Over the same period, inflation rose by 27.1
percent, meaning compensation has barely kept pace with inflation.
If you aren't making an extra effort to get ahead, chances are you
are just treading water.
Managing a career intelligently
What kind of career management steps can help? Here are seven
Get the right credentials.
It's generally known that getting a college degree can help your
earning power. However, don't pursue education blindly.
Before you decide on a degree
, check out the wages and job growth in related professions.
Also, make sure the degree you are pursuing is one that hiring
managers in that profession view as valuable.
Keep your skills up-to-date.
Don't assume that your education ends once you get into the
workplace -- especially if your job involves technical skills.
With technology advancing at a rapid pace, you have to make an
effort to advance with it or you will be left behind.
Understand what adds value.
Don't take a narrow view of your job. Understand where it fits
into the organization, and how it adds value. Knowing how your
efforts support the objectives of the company can help make you
more valuable to that company, and also might make your
day-to-day work more fulfilling.
Clarify your performance goals.
Try to have your supervisor be as specific as possible about what
you are supposed to accomplish, and what level of performance
would be considered above-average. This will help ensure that you
and your employer are on the same page about the quality of your
Know your market value.
Even if you aren't considering changing jobs, look at the market
for your position so you have a feel for what compensation levels
are and how much demand there is for that type of work. You might
also look at this more broadly, by researching whether there is
stronger demand for your skills in another part of the country if
the market where you work is not very encouraging.
Putting some time and effort into how you negotiate your raises
come review time can pay off in higher wages throughout the year.
Don't approach these negotiations as an adversarial process. The
constructive approach is to state your case factually in terms of
goals accomplished, value added and the going pay for your
Bank your raises.
Getting raises is the best opportunity to improve savings rates,
because you won't miss money that you didn't have before. Banking
your raises in a high-interest savings or
account can help compound the wealth-building impact of those
Think of your career as a form of investment: You have to put
something into it, manage it carefully and understand its value,
but doing those things will likely help you get a better