4 Ways to Earn a Raise

Do you want a raise? Although most people would answer “yes, absolutely” to that question, few people feel comfortable asking for one. And sometimes, an employee who does actually ask for a raise has done very little to increase his or her value to his employer to therefore warrant a pay hike.

So, how do you increase your salary? Well, one tried and true method is to increase your worth to your employer. Of course, there’s no way to guarantee you’re employer will up our pay until they actually agree to do so. But generally speaking, the more of an asset you are to an employer, the higher pay said employer is willing to shell out to keep you happy and on-board.

We all know that obtaining a higher-level degree can make an employee more of an asset. But, we also know that going after a degree requires a substantial amount of time and money, and these are resources that many people don’t have in excess. There are other things you can do to increase your earnings power, however, that do not necessarily require such a lengthy time commitment or a hefty financial investment. We’ve created a list of a few things you can do to make yourself raise-worthy.

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

1. Certification — Potential earnings increase of $5,000 to upwards of $20,000 annually

As of late, Labor Statistics report the median annual earnings for someone with less than a high school diploma at $24,544, while someone with a professional degree earned $89,128. Most other people fell somewhere in between.

  • High school diploma holders: $33,852
  • Associate’s degree holders: $40,404
  • Bachelor’s degree holders: $57,616
  • Master’s degree holders: $69,108
  • Doctoral degree holders: $84,396
  • Some college, but no degree: $37,804

These days, more and more people are attending college, and virtually everyone has basic computer skills. Most employers expect educated candidates to understand how to use Windows, operate Word, and create basic spreadsheets. You can increase your value to an employer by proving your skills through certification. This will set you apart from other employees, and also widen your skills set.

Microsoft certification exams cost around $150, and passing these certifications renders you more valuable to an employer, and may even open you up to new job opportunities. According to a Microsoft publication, “Office Specialists are viewed by their supervisors as more competent, more productive, and more credible as a result of their certification status. Whether you are new to your career or a highly trained administrative professional with a top-level staff position, you will find that adding “Microsoft Office Specialist” to your resume is beneficial.” 

Microsoft Office Specialist certifications are an ideal choice for the business professional. Some of the more advanced tests are notoriously difficult, though, and advanced IT certifications in particular (like database and programming certifications) or are generally designed for those with specialized computer expertise.

The average starting salary for a certified Microsoft Office Specialist is $62,849, which is around $5,200 higher than the median salary for bachelor’s degree holders. Microsoft Solutions Associates typical start at $73,149 per year and a certified Solutions Administrator earns around $77,000, according to IT Career Finder. A certified Microsoft Office Specialist is oftentimes qualified for these and other positions, such as office manager and executive assistant positions. There are no specific degree requirements to take the MOS certification.