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You’ve been working at the same company for quite a while now. You’re professional and fully committed, and you put in longer hours than the typical 9 to 5.
However, you weren’t included in the recent round of promotions. And you didn’t get the salary increase you were promised. You feel you’ve been cheated.
The worst thing you could do now is to accept the situation.
Because you deserve to make more money!
In this article, I’ll show you:
- What is essential for a rapid salary increase
- What role networking plays in your career
- Why a positive mental attitude is crucial
I’ll do this by examining two case studies.
I created a finance blog because I enjoy writing about investing, day trading, and the latest evolutions in financial technology.
But I’m also a full-time employee in the finance department of a major exchange-listed company.
In the past few years, I have assisted many students in their transition from a university campus to the business world.
These are the stories of Jacob and of Michael, two young men who have achieved far more in their careers in a very short time than most of the young people in our department.
Case Study #1: Jacob
Jacob acquired a position with us as a working university student.
When I look back at the application process, there was no clear indication that he was the front runner for the position.
However, Jacob shined in the interview and convinced us he was the right choice.
He worked only part-time while school was in session. During semester breaks, instead of traveling, Jacob chose to work full-time. This increased his income significantly.
The First Step to Permanent Employment
It was difficult for the company to offer Jacob permanent employment after graduation. The promises made to him during his period as a working student were no longer there.
Budget-cutting within the company made hiring him nearly impossible, and he was offered only a (short-term) temporary contract with unfavorable income options. This was not practical for Jacob, and he didn’t accept the position.
Jacob’s Secret Weapon
Jacob learned the art of networking early on, so he was able to find an elegant way out of the dilemma rather quickly.
As crazy as it may sound, an internal position was out of the question. However, thanks to his cleverness, Jacob was hired by a management consulting firm that happened to have a contract with our company. Jacob walked through the firm’s doors, into ours, and continued working for us as though he had never left.
The Perfect Way for Networking Talent
The story of Jacob doesn’t end here.
Right from the start, Jacob was highly motivated to elevate his career as swiftly as possible. His first change of employment was followed by three more changes within two years.
Currently, he’s employed by a prestigious management consultancy and has the opportunity to participate in fascinating projects worldwide.
Jacob’s particular strengths are networking and thinking of the “big picture.” Without these attributes, he probably would’ve accepted the unfavorable fixed-term contract with poor conditions.
Today, three years after starting his career, Jacob has more than doubled his starting salary. Now he has a much larger budget at his disposal.
What Can You Learn From Jacob?
- Build meaningful relationships right from the start. Get to know as many people as possible, as quickly as possible, and make sure they remember who you are when you need them to.
- Think big. Companies are always looking for visionaries – people who can offer solutions, not just recognize roadblocks.
- Changing jobs quickly at the beginning of your career helps to increase your salary very quickly.
Case Study #2: Michael
Michael started with us early in his university studies.
Unlike Jacob, Michael didn’t have to compete with other candidates during the application process.
The opportunity to work with him was pure coincidence. More precisely, it came about through a random conversation he had with someone at our company.
My colleague mentioned we were looking for a working student who was familiar with business administration – particularly information technology and programming skills.
It was also essential that the student work for us for at least one year. As with Jacob, the student would have to be trained by our team members and fully integrated into the work process.
A Network Won Again
After that chance meeting between Michael and my colleague, we invited him for a more formal interview.
After the interview, it became clear we didn’t have to look any further for a candidate. We were convinced Michael could forge his own path and offer us the right amount of professional support we needed.
The next few months proved wrong in that initial assessment – in a positive way! He made far more progress than we ever could have expected.
Michael’s ambition was enormous, and his affinity for programming complex database queries opened up entirely new possibilities for us. All we had to do was make sure our other colleagues could use the technical solutions he had created.
Michael was employed by us for several years as a working student. Unlike Jacob, he didn’t work part-time. He worked full-time as he continued his studies.
Amazingly, he was able to complete his studies on time and with an impressive academic degree. Michael was a true mastermind.
The First Step to Permanent Employment
As you may have already guessed, after Michael’s studies had finished, there weren’t any available offers for a permanent position.
He accepted a temporary contract with unfavorable conditions. This was not the least of his problems. He had also become a father and had to support his family.
Michael learned quickly from this situation. Even while his fixed-term employment contract was still running, he built an excellent cross-company network.
Ultimately, that was the right decision.
Due to a hiring freeze, although we didn’t want to lose his skills, we couldn’t offer Michael a permanent position.
Nor was it possible to hire him through a management consulting firm as an in-between, as had happened with Jacob.
It seemed like a hopeless situation.
The Perfect Way for a Specialist
However, there’s a happy ending to this story. Since I foresaw what would happen early on, I repeatedly encouraged Michael to apply for any internally announced position.
As a mentor, I knew I’d be able to “secure” such a valuable employee. If it were not possible for him to continue working in our department, then at least he could try another part of the company.
In my opinion, it must be in the interest of a company not only to hire talented people but to retain them in the long term.
Michael was able to impress us at all times, not only from a personal perspective but also from a professional one.
The idea of applying for suitable positions proved to be a stroke of luck. He was soon invited for an interview by another department and was able to convince others of his professional programming expertise.
Of course, we were pleased to confirm to the interested department that Michael was an outstanding employee who would perfectly fit the job profile.
Now Michael has been working in that department for several years and is very pleased.
My experience has shown that salary jumps are not too big when changing jobs within the organization. However, in Michael’s case, it was different because he had the know-how and the recruiting department was willing to pay a much higher salary.
A Win-Win Situation for All Involved
Michael was able to significantly increase his salary mainly because he had a company-specific, in-depth understanding of programming and application development.
Within three years he nearly doubled his salary, even without multiple job changes.
He possessed the knowledge the company needed, and he dictated the rules – not the other way around.
What Can You Learn From Michael?
- Highly demanded skills are just as helpful in raising income as frequently changing employment.
- The underlying conditions are equal for everyone. It is by no means easier for young families to get started in the business world.
- Networking is and remains the most important factor. You hear it everywhere because it’s absolutely true. You could be the best at what you do, but if your skills are unknown, nobody can hire you.
What Makes Jacob and Michael Special?
Jacob and Michael can look back on their choices with pride. Within a very short time, they had increased their available monthly budget.
Not only has their gross salary doubled, but so has their extra income. Their fixed costs have remained the same, yet each additional dollar can now go directly into their savings.
Jacob and Michael have much more freedom to plan for their future. Moreover, they can afford an extra luxury here and there.
Other young people in the department have come to accept that there won’t be a salary increase despite the excellent economic situation.
They are frustrated and often blame the company. Fortunately, some are starting to realize they have to make changes to see a real difference.
Recently, one of our young employees took the initiative and applied at a large car manufacturer nearby – with great success!
He now has fewer working hours, combined with an enormous increase in salary. One job application and one interview were all it took to achieve this.
Driven by frustration, he realized he had to make a change.
Admittedly, he should have taken this step much sooner.
The decisive factor was that he dared to take the step and actively push the change forward.
Love It, Leave It, Change It
A positive mental attitude, competence, and the ability to make decisions determine your success.
Most importantly, remember: A company owes you nothing. Nothing at all! At least, not more than what is written on paper.
In a free economy, an employee’s desire to further their career and salary is at the mercy of the employer.
You, and only you, are responsible for yourself.
You can achieve the best with these three principles:
- Network: Build an extensive network that includes several companies. Sooner or later, the time will come when you’ll need to use these contacts.
- Skills: Always offer companies the skills they’re currently looking for. Nowadays, there are positions in high demand centered around artificial intelligence and blockchain, as well as general programming.
- Willingness to change: Use your early working years to change jobs as often as possible. Note that cross-company changes lead to the most significant salary increases. You are solely responsible for initiating even seemingly uncomfortable changes if they are good for your life.
Three Final Tips
Tip #1: Hone Your Strengths
If your employment contract allows it, further hone your strengths by working a secondary career and pursue your inner calling.
Not all of us will be able to do exactly what we want in our daily job because our interests change through the course of life. In addition, the things you absolutely want to do are often the jobs that are paid the worst.
The internet, in particular, makes it very easy to get started in a side hustle these days. Use this opportunity!
This could be the first step to living your life as an entrepreneur. The time may come when you make more money from your side hustle than your regular job. Why not retire at 40, instead of 65?
Tip #2: Plan Accordingly
I advise against taking a part-time job at the beginning of your career.
In our company, I notice that more career starters are striving less to get ahead quickly. They’re increasingly choosing the path to part-time work to have more time for a private life.
That sounds like a cool and easygoing idea, but in the long run, it’s an awful decision.
The first five years are the most important in your career. During this time, you set the foundation for your long-term success. You must make as much progress as possible, as quickly as possible.
Once you have a family, have settled in a particular region, or are bound by other commitments, changing your job will be more challenging.
Eventually, you’ll have to make more and more compromises until you finally retreat.
Tip #3: Don’t Expect Anything for Free
When it comes to money, nothing is free. In a free economy, this applies to financial investments, as well as employment relationships.
With a permanent position, you enter into an everlasting hamster wheel with dependencies between expenses and income.
If you decide to jump into the hamster wheel, make sure it’s as luxurious as possible. The more money you make, the closer financial independence will come.
It’s feasible to increase your income significantly in the first few years of your career. It requires persistence, a good plan, and the willingness to network with others.
Ignore the nay-sayers. Have your plan ready from the get-go. You don’t need a Plan B. Put all your efforts into Plan A, and maintain a positive mental attitude.
Alexander Voigt is the founder of daytradingz.com. He started his career in the financial business in 1999 and is still as fascinated with the financial markets as he was during his first trading days. On his blog, he shares his experiences and opinions by providing detailed information about the financial markets, trading strategies, and potential career paths.
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