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Double Your Salary in 10 Years

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This isn't another article about how to work a room, dress for success, or turn your hobby into a cash cow. If you don't have an extra 10 hours in your day to build a side business -- or even 10 minutes to work on your resume -- no problem. You can make a splash (and more cash) right where you're working.

That's right: Simply by staying put and boosting your annual raise by just 2%, you can double your salary in a decade -- thanks to the power of incremental raises and compounding. In practical terms, here's how it plays out:

 

Employee A

Employee B

Employee C

Starting Salary

$50,000

$50,000

$50,000

Annual Raise

4%

6%

8%

Salary After 10 Yrs.

$74,102

$89,542

$107,946

Suddenly, kissing up to the boss doesn't seem so distasteful, eh?

Mold yourself into an MVP
Still, honing your skills to become a master typist, world-class multitasker, and above-average meeting participant ("I baked brownies, everyone!") doesn't pay squat unless the right people notice. (And by "right people," I mean those who determine how many zeros appear on your paycheck.)

So, how do you catch their eye and earn their lavish praises and above-average raises? Simple: Focus on their needs, not yours.

In Seven Years to Seven Figures, author Michael Masterson says that higher-ups really take notice of those who 1) solve the company's biggest financial problem, or 2) find new ways to increase sales (or whatever the business goal is) and put them into action.

Yes, it takes work, but that old cliche about working smarter rather than harder isn't a bad one, as far as cliches go. So, roll up your shirt sleeves and follow some of these tips from Masterson on making yourself indispensable during the hours between 9 and 5.

6 ways to raise your on-the-job profile
1.
Plug in to the larger priorities. Every year, companies set their annual goals. If you've gotten yourself involved in those talks, excellent -- you already know what matters to the big bosses. If you aren't clued in to the broader business objectives, do a water-cooler survey to learn about the latest buzz.

2. Do some industry reconnaissance. It's easy to get wrapped up in what's happening inside your company's walls, but regularly scanning periodicals and industry websites can help you find new ways of approaching your job. If you attend conferences, write up your notes and relate what you learned to your current company's operations and goals.

3. Act like a business owner. You don't have to be the person who volunteers for every project to get noticed. It's better to spearhead an initiative of your own designed to solve a company problem or meet an objective sooner or more profitably.

4. Seek feedback. Don't let your hard work fall flat during the big "reveal." Seek frequent feedback on special projects, in addition to your regular work performance. Show that you value others' expertise by listening and responding thoughtfully.

5. Get creative with your pay. Ask for profit-based incentives to be tied to your performance. Yes, there's a risk that you'll make less than if you settle for the standard raises, but there's a bigger potential upside, too. Such thinking illustrates that you're personally invested in the success of your company.

6. Get noticed. Progress updates are important not only for the pointers you'll get, but also because they spotlight your work without seeming like you're bragging. Highlight concrete wins, as well as your colleagues' contributions. And don't be stingy with praise. The best leaders elevate others along with themselves.

Isn't it heartening to know that nice guys and gals can get ahead?

For more Foolishness:

At The Motley Fool, "dressing for success" means donning a jester's cap (although one of the hazards of doing so while networking at an off-site event means occasionally being mistaken for the party entertainment). Dayana Yochim's profile is business casual, but the advice she offers as the Fool's personal finance specialist is all business.

This article was originally published on Aug. 1, 2007. It has been updated by Dan Caplinger. The Fool has a disclosure policy.


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