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Market Yourself for a Promotion…and More Money

When I first started with my company, I put in a lot of late hours and weekends trying to master my new role—and prove they’d hired the right person. Eventually, I learned the ins and outs of my job and regained my personal life. This was great for a while, but as time passed, I missed that feeling of being challenged each day. Plus, I knew that earning a larger salary would help me meet the financial goals I had for the next few years, like buying a home and new car.

In today’s job market and economy, it seems there are only two ways to increase your salary: Switch jobs to a higher-paying position, or ask for a promotion. Few and far between are the times when people are given raises simply based upon performance or cost-of-living increases. You’ve either got to ask for it, or go find it.

I’ve never been the type of person to wait for good things to happen but I also wanted to stay with my employer, so I decided to work toward the promotion I wanted. Here a few tips that helped me move up the company ladder:

Highlight your contributions

In order to make a move up the ladder, you’ve got to show your co-workers and supervisors you’ve got what it takes. You don’t want to brag, but don’t downplay your successes, either. During weekly status meetings with my boss, I made sure to mention goals I’d helped my team reach since our last meeting and future benchmarks I planned to meet. This helped show that I had the potential to take on more responsibility—and do so with confidence!

Don’t be shy about career goals

Your chances of a promotion improve dramatically if someone actually knows you’d like one. Use a little word-of-mouth marketing and, when appropriate, talk about your goals with your boss and other co-workers. Just be sure to keep the focus on your desire to be challenged and grow in your role with the company, not on your desire to earn more money. Also, see if someone higher up would be interested in mentoring you. Before my promotion, I had lunch with a senior co-worker once a month to discuss my progress. She helped me see work situations in a totally new light—and provided a ton of constructive advice.

Dress for the job you want

Whether your aspiration stems from wanting a larger salary—one to help you save for a new car or the home of your dreams—or you’d just like more responsibility, put some thought toward the job you see yourself doing a year or two from now. Then, start acting the part. I took cues from people who had the position I wanted, taking a look at how they dressed, spoke with other employees, and contributed to meetings and brainstorm sessions. I also tried to show leadership skills in less formal ways, such as helping to organize the company’s holiday party.

While it took a few months for my “strategy” to pay off, I’m glad that I took control of my career instead of waiting for someone else to notice my hard work. Now, when I get up in the morning, I’m not exactly sure what to expect—but I wouldn’t have it any other way.