How I Doubled My Salary & Fast-Tracked My Career within 3 Years.
“Be so good they can’t ignore you”– Steve Martin.
One of the questions I’m frequently asked is how I managed to get started in my career and climb the corporate ladder.
I recall being a university graduate with almost no industry experience. When I graduated from uni I did not have any mentors or anyone to give me advice. All I had was my laptop, the internet and seek.com which at that time, was my best friend. I applied for 100+ jobs until I finally landed an interview with a reputable cosmetics company. With my very minimal experience, the interviewers saw something in me and decided to give me a chance.
Whilst landing my first ‘proper’ job felt like a huge accomplishment at the time, that was only the beginning. I had to work extremely hard to get to the position I am today. I started from the ground up. My duties included filing, conducting reference checks and admin- basically all the rubbish that no one else in my team wanted to do. But through persistency, determination and a positive mindset, I was able to quickly move past my entry-level position and start making my mark in the corporate world.
I’d like to preface this article by saying that what I did may not work for everyone. I understand that different career paths come with different sets of challenges and obstacles. I am simply sharing the things I did that helped me to get to where I am today.
So with that in mind, here are my top five tips on how to fast-track your career and increase your salary:
I know this may seem like a really obvious piece of advice, but there is no denying the power of hard work. I have made many personal sacrifices in order to get ahead. These have included missing out on social events because I would be working in the office until 11pm on Friday nights. I was letting my family and friends down, missing the gym, experiencing burnout… the list goes on. I’m not particularly proud of these things and it’s certainly nothing to brag about, but it’s the truth. I did whatever it took to get the job done, and to do it well.
These personal sacrifices demonstrated a commitment to my job which ultimately got me a promotion from HR Coordinator to HR Manager in 1.5 years. This is something which can often take 5 + years to achieve.
After my first position at the Cosmetics Company, I was approached about a new position. This new position meant that I would go from being the most junior person in the team to being in a stand-alone position, and doing it all myself. Was I scared? You bet. However, I saw this as a great opportunity to further my career and just went for it.
At first, I felt really out of my depth and had my doubts as to whether I would be capable of doing the job. But by simply immersing myself into the work, I surprised myself as how much I learnt. I was promoted, able to build up my own team and went on to become a trusted advisor and confidant to the CEO.
One of the most formative components to building my career was having a mentor. I was lucky to have been mentored by someone who I looked up to and admired. My mentor helped shape my development- including the way I worked and operated on a daily basis.
If you do not have a mentor you can directly contact, my advice would be to study the career/ life of someone who’s career path you wish to follow. Pick up an auto-biography and study the practices your ‘mentor’ did to get to where they are today. Then, start incorporating these practices into your daily routines and rituals.
Showing initiative and the willingness to go above and beyond are necessary behavioural traits if you want to be viewed as a ‘stand-out’ employee. It is a real skill to be able to pre-empt the needs of your superiors and those around you. I made an effort to get to know the senior members in the organisation and to understand their personal style and preferences. This way, I would be able to deliver on things- before even being asked.
Never underestimate the power of exceeding expectations.
Lastly, it’s important to know and understand your worth. As Jim Rohn once said:
“We get paid for bringing value to the marketplace. It takes time to bring value to the marketplace, but we get paid for the value, not the time.”
This provides some context as to why some people are paid $15 per hour vs. $50 vs. $100 vs. $500 etc.
One of the things I have successfully been able to identify in my career is knowing when it’s time to move on. If you are adding a certain level of value to your workplace and are not being compensated for it, perhaps it is time to ask for an increase. If that does not prove to be fruitful, perhaps it is time to consider working somewhere that will pay you according to your worth.
So, there you have it- my top five tips on how to increase your salary and fast-track your career. As mentioned previously, these tips may not be for everyone. I simply wanted to share the initiatives and practices I have put in place to get ahead.
What are some of the tips or techniques you have used to climb the corporate ladder? I would love to hear your thoughts- please leave your comments below!