From career training to communication tips, check out our list of ways to boost your paycheck.
Specialize. Are you feeling like you're spread too thin over too many tasks? Become an expert at a few major responsibilities in order to make yourself indispensable in the office. A brief online course can help. For example, if your boss relies on PowerPoint presentations, learn more about the software package and help with the weekly presentation duties.
Diversify. On the flip side, a narrow range of skills could work against you in an office where only a few people perform the majority of the tasks. Think about where you can diversify your skills to offer more value to the team. For example, your front-office clerical skills could be combined with medical assistant training to help prepare you to work in a small doctor's office. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports a median yearly wage of $28,300 for medical assistants, with the top 25 percent earning $33,050.
Train yourself. Think about where you want your career to be in five or ten years. If people at work are always asking you for help with their computers, why not make it official? An associate's degree in ITcan help move you into an official role as your company's computer-support specialist. Your employer should be pleased to find that you took the initiative to educate yourself. Computer-support specialists earn a median annual wage of $43,450, while the top 25 percent earn $55,990.
Train others. Prove your value in the workplace by offering to lead training sessions for new hires. Expressing the desire to train others proves your interest in the company, as well as your willingness to take a leadership position and a position of responsibility. Business classes in human resource management and communications can give you the knowledge you need to help new hires begin their careers at your company.
Manage. Interested in climbing up the corporate ladder? Do your part to make your way into a management position. If you have little or no previous management experience, a degree in business administration such as an MBA can help give you the management tools you need to operate confidently at a management level. Then you can combine your work experience with education and rise above your competition. According to the BLS, workers with a master's degree earn an average of almost $200 a week more than those with a bachelor's degree only.
Get certified. Computer certification in technologies such as Cisco, Microsoft, and Linux have value in jobs ranging from help-desk support to high-level project management. Combined with your degree incomputer science, finance, or a related field, the certification process gives you a chance to prove your knowledge, keep your technical skills current, and show off your commitment to your job. Network and computer-systems administrators are expected to remain current on new technologies. They earned a yearly median wage of $66,310 in 2008, with the top 25 percent earning $84,110.
Ask. Perhaps the easiest salary-boosting tactic is also one of the most overlooked: asking for what you want. Otherwise, your boss may not know that you're thinking of advancing your career. Set up a meeting and ask what you can do to earn more. Present some ideas and learn more about your strengths and weaknesses as an employee. From there, you should have a clearer picture of how to improve; what's more, your boss will realize you want to.
Move on. Sometimes, a simple salary boost can't be found. If you find yourself stuck in a go-nowhere job, think about using education and training to make the move to a position that is more in line with your ambition and ability.
Of course, none of the tips above can guarantee a higher salary. However, it's a good idea to take some time out of every year to consider where you stand on the office payroll. With a move as simple as a little career training, you can boost your paycheck and earn what you deserve.
Mary Fineday is a freelance writer in Austin, Texas.