You might think that your employer has total control over your salary. But that is not true. You too have a part to play. If you feel underpaid, don’t just rant and rave at the injustice of your employer. Take an introspective look at what you are doing, however unwittingly, to perpetuate the situation. As the saying goes, “Someone can only ride your back if you bend it.”
Here are some unconscious ways that many employees sabotage their earning potential without realizing it:
1) A resume that doesn’t represent your true skill level. If your resume doesn’t truly show that you are worthy of a higher salary, you have already low-balled yourself in the prospective employer’s eyes. Many job seekers don’t put a lot of time and thought into writing their own resumes. They may look at their position descriptions and copy them verbatim onto the resume. Some don’t even do that much. They just write a few lines per job, and that is all. But to be truly competitive, you need to match your skills to the vacancy so that you show your worth from what is often the first point of contact: your resume.
2) Poor negotiation skills. A lack of good negotiation skills is the downfall of many a job seeker. Most companies are not going to give you a top salary just because you are good at what you do. You need good negotiation skills as well. Even if you hate negotiating, you can improve in this area through practice. Take advantage of articles in well-respected periodicals that will give you pointers on how to negotiate salary effectively.
3) Overlooking the sources for the best jobs. Did you know that all job search methods are not created equal? If you rely solely on major job boards such as CareerBuilder and Monster, you could be jeopardizing your earning potential by doing that. The reason is that often the best paying jobs are found through networking, not through posting your resume on a job site or responding to posted vacancies. So don’t overlook your network. You do so at your own peril.
4) Not advocating for a raise. After you land a position, the negotiation is not over. You may need to advocate for yourself to get the raise that you deserve. If you don’t, you are leaving money on the table. It may feel uncomfortable to talk to your boss about a raise, but being underpaid can be even more uncomfortable.
5) Not keeping your skills current. You will definitely lower your earning potential if your skills are dated. The truth of the matter is that in addition to lowering your earning potential, you can also lower your level of employability if you do not stay up to date with your skills in your field. When you have skills that are in demand, you can often name your price. You are in a position where employers need you, and they will pay for your skills.
So as you can see, you have a role to play in how much you make and how much you can command. Take this advice to heart so that you will not be a victim, but a victor in the work world.
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