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Friday, June 17, 2011

Career Development: What Are You Worth?

Be Confident of Your Value. If you are one of millions that while trying to achieve your career goals put in endless hours at the office, sacrifice personal time for the good of the company and even regularly bring work home, then you may be wondering if you’re receiving the salary you deserve.

Chances are that you are not. Studies on the topic of career development have shown that women typically receive 20%-30% less than men in salaries with the same job title.

For men it may a situation where a lack of specific training keeps you at a lower salary level. You may also be wishing that you could correct the problem without making a career change, but don’t know exactly how to go about it.

This is because sometimes people have difficulty negotiating their salary expectations. They may fear negative consequences if they press the issue of receiving a certain salary. At the root of this problem is more than likely an issue of self-worth. Sometimes we have the tendency to focus on our weaknesses instead of our strengths and fear that our boss will do the same.

So it’s very important to be confident when approaching and negotiating with your boss or prospective boss for a salary that you know the job is worth, more importantly, that you are worth.

Personal Assessment Time. This brings up two good questions. Do you honestly feel that you need a raise and how do you know what your worth is? It has been suggested that you conduct a yearly assessment of your salary expectations.

Ask yourself if you are happy and content with your present job position and wage. Maybe you have unwittingly taken on responsibilities that were not originally part of the job description and if so, have you been compensated accordingly?

Making a list or chart of your before and after hire date responsibilities will more than likely strengthen your position with regard to a request for more pay. As far as finding out what you are worth, is a good resource for assessing the value of your particular skills and qualifications.

Keep in mind that these numbers will vary according to location. Other compensation factors to consider in your request may include more vacation time, increased benefits and job perks. If you are negotiating a new hire, you might ask about a sign-on bonus, tuition reimbursement or flextime. There is nothing wrong with asking for things that you are probably entitled to anyway.

Streamline Your Career Strategy. It is important to understand that there is a certain amount of strategy involved in asking for raises and promotions. For example, you wouldn’t want to present your request for a raise with the words, “I just bought a new car and I need the money”, or “My kids need braces and I need the money to pay for them.” Instead, it would be better to present in your request one of your specific accomplishments or a streamlined solution you designed that you feel warrants fair compensation.

Highlight the fact that the company is receiving something from you in the way of greater benefits than before. Express the fact that your goal is to continue at this rate of increased productivity and you would like to be compensated equally.

While you are waiting for promotions to become available, get the boss’ attention by making yourself available in other departments when the need arises. Learn their jobs and responsibilities if possible and let it be known that you can transfer between departments if needed.

The ability to cover different positions increases your value as an employee. Let your supervisor know that you are interested in career development and growing with this company and ask for suggestions on reaching your career goal. Consider taking some additional online training or computer training to better equip yourself for the position you desire.

When it’s Time to Move On. On a final note, you may have to face the fact that the company you originally chose is not willing to compensate your worth or offer advancement opportunities. If you continually hear from your boss that the timing is not right or funds are just not available for a raise, then you might consider freshening up your resume and looking elsewhere. There are plenty of companies out there that are willing to pay you the salary you require, so don’t settle for less.

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