Make no mistake about it — your career is the biggest income source you will ever have. It is easily the biggest factor to being rich.
Investing your time, energy and money into this income source will reap big rewards in the future. If are able to increase your income, keep spending flat and invest the difference, you will be well on your way to becoming very rich, especially if you come to this realization at a young age and take advantage of compound interest.
Below are common tactics I use to advance my career and reap the benefits of the corresponding salary increases that come with each promotion.
1. Make your development plan known to your manager – if you do not exhibit interest in your own development, your manager will not take any interest either. Work to develop where you want to be and the actions, experiences and courses you would like to take to get you there.
2. Speak up – if you’re naturally quiet, unfortunately this could hurt you. Before you head to your next meeting, do your homework. Research the topic being discussed and anticipate the questions that will be asked. Be prepared to share your thoughts. This will show your manager that you are taking initiative.
3. Volunteer to lead projects – when no one wants to take on that extra project, raise your hand. Taking initiative, setting expectations and delivering on those expectations are seen by your manager as going above and beyond the call of duty
4. Develop your strengths; manage imperfections – this goes back to putting together a development plan. Your development plan should include how you want to leverage your strengths and it should also outline how you will manage your weaknesses. You do not have to improve your weaknesses, just get them to a fundamental level of competency
5. Develop good presentation skills – this is a key skill to develop in today’s competitive and global environment. The marketplace for labor is competitive and the ability to clearly articulate your ideas will make you a star
6. Develop relationships – if you work alone and do not seek advice or help, this could hurt future opportunities. Take someone out to lunch. Chat with your office/cube neighbor about the latest project. Chat with someone in the break room. Showing interest in your work and the future of the company will show your manager that you are thinking about how to bring value to the company
7. Have a mentor who is in an influential position – this can not only help in your own career development as it relates to your development plan, but that particular relationship can open up opportunities
8. Mentor others – show the organization that you care about its people and that you want to development junior people who are new to the organization.
9. Under-promise and over-deliver – if you promise the world, but don’t deliver, you’ve failed in most people’s eyes. If you don’t promise much, but consistently and frequently deliver results far beyond expectations, you will be seen as a success
10. Go beyond the call of duty – doing exactly what is expected of you will not advance your career. Performance that is above and beyond the call of duty will allow you to stand out from the crowd and be seen for future promotions and salary increases
11. Dress appropriately – it may be shallow, but it is a reality of the culture we live in. People make their first impressions of you based on how you present yourself. If you come in looking disheveled or like you don’t own an iron, it may say something about your character. I’m not saying you need to be shopping on 5th Avenue in Manhattan, but pressed slacks and a button-down shirt go a long way.
Your ability to earn more money is directly proportional to the amount of value you create for your company. Though some of the ideas above directly create value, some are about how you are perceived by others. It’s a brutal and competitive market that we are currently experiencing, so standing above the crowd is crucial to career success.