Although money shouldn’t be the most important factor in the career decisions we make, it often has a big impact on our lives. How much money we earn will dictate where we live, the lifestyle we enjoy, the schools our children attend, the type of holidays we go on (if any) and how and when we will retire.

have a plan - get the promotion you needWhen you work for someone else, you have a limited amount of control over your salary. You negotiate your starting salary and then you are usually given increases at your employer’s discretion following annual reviews and promotions… and during these austere times, some employers have put a pay freeze on, so even that small increment every year has been taken away.

Do you want more control over your salary? It’s. It impossible – credit crunch or not, many people are still earning more money. The trick is to understand your value and learn how to increase the value you provide to your employer.

So, are you ready for that bug pay rise?Here are five ways to start increasing the value you provide at work and ultimately, the salary that you earn:

1. Become an expert in a new area
You may have been doing the same job for a number of years with no real direction. Research upcoming trends in your industry or find an area of weakness in your organisation and establish yourself as the expert in it. Even is this requires additional training or qualifications, making yourself the go-to person for all related matters, will make you become an indispensable asset.

2. Make a direct impact on the bottom line
The sole purpose of every company is to make money and to make even more profit. Suggest a new way to service your existing customer base to create a new income stream for your organisation – every employer likes good, sound and realistic business ideas. If you do not work directly in a revenue-producing area of business, you could look into ways to save the company money in the area you work in. Calculate the impact you have on the bottom line and your value will be evident.

3. Be professional at all times
Although it sounds like a no-brainer, it can be easy to get caught up in office gossip and politics, but if you want to get ahead, you need to rise above the pettiness that can occur. You may not realise it, but senior management are often aware of this and can see when employees are unprofessional, though they may not address it every time. Set yourself apart from this and you’ll benefit.

4. Do something different
The danger of having a routine is that you rarely leave your comfort zone. This can happen when you’ve worked in the same industry for a long time, and have been in the same job or company for many years. You get so used to one way of doing things, you can almost do your job blindfolded. Playing it safe doesn’t produce the wow factor that management look for when giving promotions. You need to expand your focus and start taking calculated risks to drastically increase your results. Don’t be afraid to speak up in meetings with new and different ideas that will bring a fresh approach to achieving organisational goals.

5. Know your market value
It’s important to keep in tune with changes in your field of work. Become familiar with tools and websites that provide updated salary data, know what the competition is paying, and understand your company’s compensation policies. Armed with this information, you will be better equipped to negotiate annual and promotional salary increases when the opportunity arises – or you’ll have enough information to put in a constructive case for it yourself.

Salary is a complicated subject. Getting paid more money isn’t something that can be accomplished overnight. Most employers will have a budget for salary increases that is divided among eligible employees. Put yourself in your employer’s shoes for a minute. Is the value you provide to the company worth more or less than your colleagues? Once you take the emotional element out of the salary equation, you can objectively create a plan to start getting paid what you are truly worth.

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