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Step up your job!

Tips on how to boost your career

By Evan Katzman
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Step up your job!

career tips,work rut,how to boost your career,pay rise,improve CV tie up shoes climbing up a ladder

Stuck in a work rut you can’t get out of? We asked the experts how you can climb the career ladder that little bit faster…

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Fast track to: a bigger pay packet

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A girl has shoes to buy. And clothes. Oh, and make-up. But wait, before you run into your boss’s office, saying how much you need Mossy’s latest Topshop creation, you need to plan what your foolproof argument for being given a pay rise is going to be. Joanne Wright, managing director of BYT, a specialist recruitment agency, says: “There are ways to increase your pay packet, despite the current cash crisis – you just need to be smarter about it.”

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Get it

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Be clear about why you deserve a pay rise. Keep a diary of everything you’ve done over and above your work spec in the last month, so you can show your employer just how hard you’ve been working. It’s also worth finding out how much you’re actually worth to the company. “It’s easy to research average salaries on the web or talk to other people in similar jobs,” says Joanne.
\r\n“And always go in with facts rather than an emotional plea about how you’re struggling to feed (or clothe) yourself. You need to show them how paying you more will benefit the company, rather than just improve your life,” says Joanne. If a pay rise is completely out of the question, think about other benefits you could ask for instead. How about working from home or being given an extra day’s holiday once a month? Okay, so it’s not hard cash, but benefits like these still have a monetary value.

Fast track to: nabbing your boss\'s job

career tips,work rut,how to boost your career,pay rise,improve CV Boss angry and pointing

It can be hard to be honest about where you see yourself in the future – especially if that’s in your boss’s chair! But Joanne says that you should never just assume that because you’ve been in the role for like, ever, you deserve a promotion. You still have to work for one.

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Get it:

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“Anticipate what more can be done in your role. Are there any additional projects or tasks you could take on that could make your boss’s life easier? Make sure you’re clear about what you want from the company and that you’re always getting feedback on your work so you can prove that you’re ready to take the next step,” says Joanne. Also, start thinking about your replacement and even train them up – it will help release you from your job, and you’ll be seen to be helpful to the company. “Why not get more management experience by offering to mentor new employees or sitting in on an interview panel,” says Corinne Mills, career coach and author of You’re Hired: How To Write A Brilliant CV (£9.99, Crimson).

Fast track to: a career change

career tips,work rut,how to boost your career,pay rise,improve CV woman bored with briefcase

Have you been moaning about your job since you started? Well, maybe it’s time to think about trying something different – however scary that might seem. “Ask family and friends for their advice on what kind of job they think would suit your personality, and don’t worry about how a career U-turn will look on your CV. Finding exactly the right industry can take time, and you’re bound to make a few mistakes along the way,” says Corinne.

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Do it:

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Be prepared to put in some hours researching your new career, and what you’d need to do in the way of re-training or further qualifications. But think laterally – lots of skills, such as organisation and managing staff, are transferable. “Retraining has never been so easy and flexible. You can do it part-time or on the internet, so it’s easier to stay in your current role. Ask people in the job you want what they had to do to get there, too,” says Corinne. And how about doing some unpaid work experience in your holiday time or evenings?

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Fast track to: networking your way up the ladder

career tips,work rut,how to boost your career,pay rise,improve CV business couple walking and talking

Networking always sounds so boring (unless it’s done while having a few drinks down the pub). But about 55% of ‘next jobs’ are secured through word-of-mouth, and this can be even more important during a recession. “In difficult times people are more likely to want to employ people they’ve met themselves or been recommended,” says Judi.

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Do it:

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“Get out to every professional event you can and don’t be afraid to go alone. That will force you to talk to other people and work the room. Try going up to groups of three or more people – it makes it easier for conversation to keep flowing and they’ll be more open to accepting you,” says Judi James, workplace behaviour expert and author of You’re Hired: Tips & Techniques For A Brilliant Interview (£9.99 Crimson). But be careful before adding new work contacts as Facebook friends. Do you want to use Facebook for networking or leave it for your personal life? If you do, then be aware of what your profile says about you professionally. Pictures of a drunken night out won’t seem as funny to a potential employer.

Fast track to: working abroad

career tips,work rut,how to boost your career,pay rise,improve CV tropical beach

We’ve all dreamed about getting a job in some exotic far-flung country and leaving the dreary British weather behind (especially when we’ve just come back from holiday). So how can we turn the dream into a reality? The good news is, working in another country really can catapult you up the career ladder. It certainly gives you that extra edge over someone who’s got the same experience but has worked their whole life in the same place. “People who’ve had international experience often have great problem-solving skills and are creative and adaptable – all skills employers want! Not to mention those who go away and learn another language,” says Joanne. “But it does depend what you go abroad to do – washing dishes or pulling pints (even if it is on the beach) won’t cut it!” adds Corinne.

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Do it:

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If you want to stay in the same industry, why not start by checking if your current company has links or offices internationally. If they don’t, or you want to try something completely different, do a bit of research before you hand in your notice and pack your bags. “Check websites like Monster.co.uk, which advertise lots of office based jobs abroad, or you could think about teaching English and taking a TEFL course (Teaching English As A Foreign Language). If you just want to travel, ask whether your company offers sabbaticals – you may be pleasantly surprised,” says Corinne.

Fast track to: career contentment

career tips,work rut,how to boost your career,pay rise,improve CV smiley woman

This is obviously the most important tip of all. It’s also crucial to climbing to the top of the career ladder – because happy people make better employees.
\r\n“When you’re passionate about your job and happy in your role, then you’ll give it 110%,” says Joanne.

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Get it:

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Work out what’s important to you in a job – is it the money, your colleagues, or the kind of work you’re doing? If you’re unhappy in your current role, is there something that can be done about it – could you move to a different area of the company for example? Or is it the job itself that’s getting you down? If so, think about a career change or retraining (see above), advises Joanne.

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