Jacob Wackerhausen/iStock

Jacob Wackerhausen/iStock

 

This article was originally published on GoodHousekeeping.com.

Think going back to school is the only way to “up” your earning potential? Think again! Hitting the books doesn’t always lead to an increase in salary but it definitely leads to an increase in debt. Learn how to boost your pay, network effectively, and develop new skills — without stepping foot in the classroom.

Alexandra Levit, author of the Blind Spots: The 10 Business Myths You Can’t Afford to Believe on Your New Path to Success, and Alison Green, the blogger behind Ask A Manager, weigh in on how to maximize your money-making potential whether you’re seeking a promotion or hoping to land a new gig.

1. Be Proactive
Instead of asking your boss what tasks you should add to your to-do list, come to the table with suggestions in mind.

2. Ask for a Raise
Before asking for a raise, make sure you deserve one. Don’t approach your boss with this request until you pinpoint specific reasons why your performance warrants a pay increase. Schedule a follow-up meeting after a strong performance review to discuss the possibilities of a higher salary.

3. Switch Fields
Look for openings that already align with your skill set but in a more lucrative industry.

4. Tailor Your Application
Market yourself specifically to each job application by highlighting the skills most relevant to that position.

5. Don’t Be Timid
When you get a job offer, negotiate your salary. A simple sentence can often land you a bigger package. Speak with people in the field to research how much you’d expect to earn at your job in your geographic area. Stay away from consulting websites — they’re frequently inaccurate.

6. Take on More Responsibility
Make sure you can handle assigned duties before speaking with your manager about taking on additional projects. If you are confident about your performance, phrase your request as a question, not as a demand.

7. Ask for a Second Opinion
Consult with someone in your field who regularly reviews résumés to ensure yours is current. Update your résumé to include any relevant unpaid work, such as volunteering.

8. Grow Professionally
Take on a project outside your area of expertise. If a specific topic interests you, ask your manager if you can attend meetings pertaining to that discipline.

9. Nail Your Performance Review
To prepare for a performance review, evaluate your work over the past year and remind your manager — informally or formally — about any notable contributions. During the review, mention your goals for the upcoming year.

10. Get Promoted
Present your manager with quantifiable details about how your accomplishments benefitted the company during your review. This could help argue your case for a promotion.

11. Donate Your Time
Volunteer work can help build your aptitude in disciplines in which you may have limited experience, such as sales, marketing, and client relations.

12. Start a Side Business
Something you may consider second nature, like your ability to organize, or crafts that you make in your spare time, could actually be a money maker. Try turning your hobby into a small business such as opening an Etsy shop to sell handcrafted jewelry or marketing your skills on sites like TaskRabbit.com.

13. Network Smarter
Use LinkedIn to cultivate a network. Make connections, join groups, ask for recommendations, and participate in conversations related to your field.

14. Get Social
Join a professional organization. Attend meetings and assist with events where you can meet similar professionals in your region.

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