How to Strategically Leverage Experience to Earn a Six-Figure Salary III: Ask for a Higher Salary at Your Next Company

Interview Tips

Recruiters suggest asking for a higher salary at a new company is a fast way to climb the corporate ladder as you leverage experience. Here are a few pointers to keep in mind.

The Career Advancement Model to a Six-Figure Salary

There are different models to eventually making a six-figure salary. For example, if you’re temping for $20 an hour, your company might pay you $40,000 a year for an administrative job. But, mabye the maximum salary is $55,000 and no higher. You can wait until you reach $55,000 and leave or make $40,000 for a year or two and then apply for a job making $55,000 elsewhere. Stay in that position for a year or two and then look for something with more responsibility making $65,000 to $80,000. For a higher salary, go back to school and leverage your experience.

How to Leave a Company “Professionally”

When you leave one company for another, have a strategy. Leave on good terms and give advanced notice. Two to three weeks is standard. Train your replacement and leave notes for them to follow. On your last day, thank the company for their time and ensure you have the contact details of your coworkers (for references). Let everyone know that you were grateful to meet and work with them and that you will miss them. Leave your contact details with them. If asked why you’re leaving, you can state it’s to “pursue other opportunities” or “a position closer to home”.

How You Can Leverage Your Experience for More Money

As you gain experience with one company and interview with others, keep track of the software you’ve used and the systems you may have worked on. Include these in your resume and if you complete your degree requirements or go back to school, add this to your resume. These are all ways to help you stand out from other applicants. Leveraging your experience is requesting a higher salary based on what you’ve learned from one company. You might say, “Yes, the reason I’m asking for $10,000 more in salary is I am proficient in MS Office and use it daily.”

How Much Time You Should Put In Before Moving On

While we’ve included that you should stay a minimum of a year or two at a company before changing jobs, there are cases when you should leave sooner. If you’re working for someone that you absolutely cannot get along with and there is no way to advance your career, you might want to leave sooner. If you think this employer might not give you a good recommendation, then yes, leave sooner if you find another opening. But, stay longer with companies where you can advance your career and climb the corporate ladder. They may have future six-figure opportunities available.

Why Too Many Job Transfers is a Red Flag on Your Resume

While you might want to quickly move from one job to the next, be careful. Your resume might show one or two years at every job. Potential employers might not hire you if they think you will only be with them for approximately a year or two. Stretch out that year or two longer or leave that particular job off your resume. Talk to a recruiter about the best way to strategize this. Ideally, you want a few years with each employer. Plan your strategy and don’t burn bridges. By completing your degree requirements and being friendly with management, you’ll get there.

Deciding When to Stay and When to Move On

A hard choice can be deciding when to stay or leave a company. If employers tell you there’s no chance for career advancement outside of your current role, you might not want to stay long-term. Talk to your recruiter about other opportunities. If you plan to leave, never resign if you don’t have a job offer and letter from another company to fall back on. When interviewing elsewhere, if you can’t use a sick day or personal day, think outside of the box. Job seekers have used savvy excuses like “kids were sick”, “personal errands” or “school meeting” for interviews.

Should You Continue with a Recruiter to Hit that Six-Figure Mark?

When strategically climbing the corporate ladder, you may want to talk to your recruiter about your plans, and then again you might not. Recruiters are usually friends with HR managers and will tell them if you plan to leave. But, because they want to work with you and place you into something else, your recruiter can help. Don’t state that are changing jobs for a higher salary but say you want to “take on more experience”. With HR at your current job, keep the communication open and leave your job on good terms because you will need a good recommendation.

Don’t Play Favorites and Don’t Burn Bridges

To help with each role you take at a higher salary, stay neutral with your opinions of others. Always watch for that next opportunity as you take on more responsibility and learn your valuation. Your diverse experience gives you more leverage with future openings and job titles at higher salaries. Here are some helpful tips.

Be Careful Who You Befriend

Not to say that you shouldn’t make friends, but be careful with cliques. A clique can hurt your chances for career advancement. If a group suddenly befriends and likes you and then changes their mind, they may say negative things about you to your manager or to HR. When making friends at work, you should be friendly and kind to everyone that you meet. But, don’t latch onto any one group or you’ll be associated with that particular group. There are employees that treat the office like high school and they play games. Avoid them.

Stay Neutral and Don’t Play Favorites

In an office setting, stay neutral with everyone. When administrative staff complains about managers, don’t voice an opinion. When marketing complains about the sales department, stay neutral and don’t agree. If someone asks, “Well, what do you think?” You can say, “I don’t know” and get back to work. By not playing favorites, you can distance yourself from office politics. Because you want career advancement and you have a strategy, keep that in mind when making new friends and acquaintances at work. This will help you to stay out of office gossip and office bickering.

Be a Listener, Not a Gossiper

When you listen on the job, it helps you to learn about office politics. You can remain neutral and not take sides. You’re also staying out of the line of fire with office quarrels. Another point to make about office politics is don’t get involved in office gossip. Small arguments or disagreements can affect your work performance or how employers perceive you. Stay out of the high school antics so you can stay focused on your plan. Look for ways to listen and help others and be ready for promotion and advancement for that higher salary opportunity.

Ensure You Leave on Good Terms

Office arguments can quickly escalate if you don’t put the fires out. Stay neutral in your opinions even if it means eating a little “humble pie”. Remember, it’s not about who’s right or wrong. It’s about keeping the peace so you can increase your experience and gain leverage. Sometimes you might have to let the other person be right or you might have to take the blame. That’s okay. There are people in offices that use their influence and power to push others around. Avoid them and keep your head down. This is a game that you have to master.

Keep Your Guard Up at Work

Some offices have saboteurs that want to undermine your performance so they can get ahead. There may be people jealous that you’re going back to school. They may try to undermine you because you have a higher salary. They may also be competitive because if you have more experience they don’t want you to get a lucrative position they’ve had their eye on. Stay alert and be conscious that people will play games. They may put you on the spot, claim your work as their own, or try to prove you to be incompetent. Your work will reflect who you are.

Stay Safe Online and Offline

A mistake some job seekers make is they use their work computer to look for a new job. Know that your employer can view every site you visit. They may also be able to view comments you’ve left online and posts you’ve made in social media. Never discuss a job change or potential new assignment in social media because it might be viewable by employers. This can damage your credibility which is what you don’t want. Stay off work computers and keep your thoughts about the company off of social media. Plan for career advancement, not unemployment.

Learn from Millennials

If there’s anyone that’s making headway, it’s millennials. They look for jobs that will lead to career advancement. Millennials have large networks of friends that might be global. They share new opportunities they hear about and millennials plan. They select the “best places to work”. These businesses reward staff, offer flex-schedules and are socially responsible. Socially responsible organizations are compliant, have fair hiring practices, positive work cultures, and staff work in their communities. While you’re climbing the corporate ladder to hit that six-figure salary, you want to work for a company that gives back and is fun to work for!