We all have hopes and dreams, and most of us hope that we will be well-paid for working hard to accomplish those dreams. It would be great if we could each earn our desired salary in every job we held as adults, but unfortunately, that isn’t the case for every person or every job. A CareerBuilder survey found that 65% of full-time workers in the United States are not currently earning their desired salary.
Sometimes a job pays too little from the start, but a person takes it in order to gain experience. Other times a job pays enough initially, but the employee doesn’t receive their desired bonuses or raises. Whatever your reason for being dissatisfied with the amount of money you are making at your job, it is still possible to make the most of a job that doesn’t pay enough. Here are five ways to maximize your time in a job that pays too little.
1. Gain experience
If you are new to your current job and you took it because you couldn’t find anything better, now is the time to gain experience. As frustrating as it is to get a job offer that doesn’t fit your needs or wants, if you need the job, then you can still make the most of it. Take this time to learn as much as you can about your specific job, but also expand your knowledge and skills in your job field.
Even if you have been stuck at your current job for years, there are still ways to use your job to your advantage. If your company offers tuition reimbursement, then consider earning an additional certification or degree that will help you make more money. Take free workshops that your company offers as well.
2. Make contacts
Regardless of whether you plan to stay at your company long-term, you should always be seeking new contacts in your job area. Making connections with others who have a similar job or are in your field can help you in many ways. Your contacts might be able to tell you about other positions or introduce you to other important people. As an added perk, getting along with coworkers is a plus in most employee reviews. According to Monster, especially when you are new, you want to be seen as someone who gets results, and you want to show that you are a hard worker. Gaining a mentor can also be key.
3. Negotiate your job duties or title
If you’re new to your job, you might need to wait a bit for this one. However, if you have been at your company for a while and you are still not making what you want to, now might be a good time to meet with your boss to negotiate your job duties. If you take on more work, you may prove that you should be making more money.
You can also request a job title change. If your company can’t or won’t pay you more, but you don’t have any other job offers, then a title change can be a silver lining. This can also be important if your duties have changed and your current title doesn’t reflect your new job duties. According to Chron, a fitting job title can make your résumé more accurate and help you obtain an interview.
4. Work towards the raise
According to the CareerBuilder survey, 56% of workers have never asked for a raise, but 66% of those who have asked for one received it. If you haven’t asked, your first step should be to do so. If you are told that the company can’t give you one now, or you need to do more to earn it, then use this time to do just that. Participate in a job shadow if you can, take on extra work and help your coworkers, and improve any negative attitudes or habits that may be preventing you from earning a raise.
5. Act the part
The first thing you should do is dress for the job you want. According to Adam Hurly, editor of Birchbox Man, the way you dress informs people how you want to be perceived. Taking care of other aspects of your appearance is also important, as is having confidence.
According to the Harvard Business Review, you can demonstrate your potential now, and prepare to be the leader you want to become; take on as many leadership opportunities as you can. Also, look for problems that others have missed or not noticed, and find a way to fix them. Lastly, be sure that you are respectful even as you are ambitious.
Just because your job doesn’t pay as much as you think it should, or as much as you would like, doesn’t mean it’s worthless. Use your time in your current position to prepare for the next one, to earn a raise, or to become the leader you want to be.