Tag: career

 

How Long Should You Side Hustle For?

Side hustling is a great way to make extra money. The more successful your side hustle is, the more motivated you are to continue, right? Not exactly. There are many other factors that contribute to the longevity of your side hustle.

Here’s how you can tell how long you should side hustle for.

Set a Goal If You’re Trying to Leave Your Job

If you’re side hustling in order to leave your full-time job, it’s important to set a deadline for when you’d like to leave and under which circumstances. How much do you need to earn? How many hours to do you expect to spend working?

For me, unfortunately, I had hit a breaking point with my side hustle which prompted me to leave my 9-5 and turn my side hustle into my full-time job. I was burning out from working so many hours between both jobs.

Luckily, I was earning enough money to allow myself to quit without too much worry. Still, this is something to keep in mind. If you plan on working several hours and building a business up on the side, set a goal as to when you will make the transition to full time so you know that side hustling is only temporary.

Consider What Your Short Term Goals Are

Are you side hustling just to meet a short term goal? Whether it’s to pay off debt, fund a large purchase, or to gain a new skill, get clear on why you’re side hustling so you can meet those short term goals.

Also, develop a plan for what you’ll do after you reach them.

Is Your Side Hustle Still Enjoyable?

This is a question my husband is faced with currently. He’s been side hustling with Uber for about 3 years now. He admits it’s not as enjoyable as when he first started.

In the beginning, he wanted to side hustle to help us pay for extra expenses, pay off his car loan, and save more for the downpayment on our home.

We have met all of those goals and he’s gotten to a place where he’d rather stay home at night instead of going to drive for Uber. We could still use some extra money each month, but it seems like it’s time to switch to another side hustle.

Since you’re working on the side, you’re already putting in extra hours so you might as well do something that you enjoy and are good at. If your side hustle is no longer enj0yable and doesn’t stimulate you, you’ll lose motivation and it will feel more like a chore.

Consider Working in Seasonal Spurts

If you plan to make your side hustle a long-term venture, continue working is seasonal spurts. That way, you’re expected to be “on” and working all the time. Working 7 days per week is not sustainable for anyone long-term.

Choose a side hustle that’s flexible and allows you to pick up or drop hours as you see fit. For example, you may want to work more hours during the summer when work at your main job is slow. A seasonal side business can be more sustainable because it allows you time to rest.

Summary

Side hustles are often great to have, but all good things tend to come to an end. Be intention when deciding what type of side hustle you’ll try and what your goals are. Consider doing flexible work and allowing yourself the freedom to slow down or speed up production as you see fit.

 

How to Save Money on a Nurse’s Salary

Nurses perform a valuable service in hospitals, doctor’s offices, schools and other places where on-site medical care is needed.

Being a nurse often means long hours in a high stress job. In return, registered nurses earn a median annual salary of $71,730, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That sounds good, right? After all, it’s more than the median household income of $61,372.

But, there’s more to the story. Namely, 76% of nurses owe undergraduate student loans, while 69% owe graduate school loans. Among nurses who attended graduate school and used loans to finance their education, the majority owe between $40,000 and $54,999.

When you couple this student debt with other bills that go along with a nurse’s daily life, saving money can be a struggle.

So, in honor of National Nurses Day, we’ve put together a how-to guide to saving more money on a nurse’s salary. Take a look.

Set up direct deposit into a savings account

Your employer might offer direct deposit for your paycheck, which is great for convenience. But if you’re dumping all your money into your checking account, consider funneling some of that into a separate savings account each payday.

“Savings accounts are good for nurses because unexpected expenses can really obstruct financial plans,” says Sandy Griffin, a licensed practical nurse and quality assurance coordinator at Hospice of South Louisiana.

“Money set aside in a savings account can cover these expenses, plus provide for your future,” she says.

Griffin says saving money in a retirement account through your job is also a no-brainer. At the very least, you should be contributing enough to get the company match. Otherwise, you could miss out on free money. That’s a mistake 25% of workers make.

Pro tip: Setting up direct deposit into your savings account can keep you on track so you don’t spend the money right away. To determine how much to save, go over your monthly expenses to see if there’s anything you can trim down. Also, pick a set percentage or dollar amount you’d like to save regularly. It doesn’t have to be much to start. The key is to commit to saving consistently.

Be savvy about shopping for nursing supplies

As a nurse, there are certain things you need. Scrubs and quality footwear, for instance, can be big out of pocket costs if your employer doesn’t offer any reimbursement.

Griffin offers some tips for saving money on these items:

  • Comparison shop to find the best prices
  • Wait for sales to buy
  • Buy in bulk as much as possible

You can also look for coupons and promo codes online through sites like RetailMeNot and Coupons.com. Using a cash rewards credit card to pay for uniforms can also save you money. The trick is to pay your balance in full to avoid interest charges.

Ben Huber, BSN, RN and co-founder of finance blog DollarSprout, says you should plan for these costs and save throughout the year.

“Employers generally won’t provide a subsidy or stipend for uniforms or other healthcare-related clothing,” Huber says.

Pro tip: If you’re going through a pair of scrubs and/or shoes every few months, “it may be wise to consider stashing away a few hundred dollars each year in a fund specifically for uniform replacement.”

Meal plan on the job (and off)

When you’re working crazy hours as a nurse, fitting in regular meal breaks isn’t always easy. Huber says it’s tempting to hit the vending machines when you get a craving, especially if you work in a high-stress environment. He has a simple solution for curbing impulse eating while you’re at work.

“Sit down for meals prior to coming on shift and pre-pack the meals you plan to eat,” Huber says.

Pro tip: You can save more money by planning out meals and snacks for the week or the month. Base your meals around what’s on sale each week at the grocery store. Shop with a list and stick to it. And consider using money-saving apps like Ibotta to earn cash back on your supermarket trips.

Consider whether grad school is worth the investment

Getting an advanced degree can mean landing a job with a higher salary, which can help you save more money. The downside is that it can mean more student loans, so you need to weigh the financial pros and cons first.

“If you’re a nurse considering an advanced degree, think about the specific ways higher education will actually pad your pockets,” Huber says.

“Aimlessly pursuing a BSN, MSN or other advanced nursing degree is the recipe for a lot of debt without the potential payday down the road to justify the expense.”

Before you make a decision on grad school, spend time researching median nursing salaries in your state. Then, consider how you’ll pay for a degree.

Pro tip: Ask if your employer offers tuition reimbursement or student loan forgiveness as this can really help.

Start a side hustle to save more money

A side hustle can boost your income, giving you more money to save. And it’s an alternative to piling up more student loan debt if you’re considering going back to school to earn an advanced nursing degree.

“Starting a business takes less discipline than nursing school,” says David Sanchez, a registered nurse who runs two side businesses. But, he says, running a side gig requires more passion, personal sacrifice and willingness to take risks.

If you’re thinking about launching a side hustle to supplement your nursing salary, first ask yourself how much time you can put into it. You may only be able to dedicate a few hours a week if you’re working long rotations.

Then, brainstorm ideas for things you can do in your spare time to make extra money. For example, if you’re a good writer you can try freelancing for medical blogs or websites. Or you might want to do something that’s not nursing-related, like dog-sitting or selling on Etsy.

Pro tip: Pick something you can make time for, something you’ll enjoy and something that will help you earn more money.

You can indeed save money on a nurse’s salary

If you’re a nurse, finding ways to save money can be challenging but it’s not impossible.

These tips can give you a good starting place to help you increase your savings. Are you ready to give saving more money a try?

 

How to Break Into a New Career Field in Your 30s

Some say that 30 is the magic age when it comes to getting serious about your life and career.

This is when you start to level up your savings for retirement, think about buying a home, and climb the career ladder. In fact, turning 30 will likely get you thinking about whether you’re happy in your current career. If not, it may be time for a change.

With these 6 steps, you can overcome intimidation and start a new career as you move into your 30s. Welcome to adulting.

Step 1: Figure Out Why You Want to Switch Careers

You may know you want to switch careers, but it’s important to narrow down why you feel this way. Is the work you do no longer fulfilling? Have you changed your interests or gained a desire to advance your skillset? Do you no longer enjoy your industry for different reasons?

Figuring out why you want to change careers will help you determine what you’re looking for in your new career. Ideally, what you lack currently should be placed on the priority list when it comes to choosing a new career.

Step 2: Be Honest About What’s Holding You Back

Have you been wanting to switch careers for some time now? Sometimes, we get so comfortable in our jobs that we tend to suppress any thoughts or feelings about moving on to something different.

In other words, the idea of switching careers after you turn 30 may seem risky or like too much work. Yet, if you want to explore a new field, you need to get past this step and identify the barriers that are holding you back.

Sometimes the idea of starting over or going back to school can be the biggest barrier. It’s up to you to break down these obstacles. Instead, think about what life would be like if you were able to start an entirely new profession.

Step 3: Assess Your New Career Path

Now that you know why you want to switch careers and what’s holding you back, it’s time to decide what you want to do.

To start, determine what type of education or experience you’ll need and how much it would cost to obtain the right credentials. Also, research current and future job prospects, along with expected pay and benefits. Depending on the type of new job, you may need to make some drastic changes. For example, going from a copywriter to an article editor may not be that big of a shift. But transitioning from an accountant to a nurse would require some significant changes, including additional education and training.

Always make sure that you keep your return on investment in mind. For example, if you’re going to go back to school to get a new license or certification, develop a specific career plan that will help you earn back that investment shortly after you land a new position and start getting paid.

Step 4: Update Your Resume

One of the most intimidating things about breaking into a new career in your 30s is that you’ll need to update your resume so that it’s relevant to job prospects in your new field.

I’d advise keeping all your past job history on your resume because this may be valuable experience. However, you can also make changes that will highlight specific responsibilities you had or accomplishments you made that will be relevant to your new career.

Skills like customer service, effective communication, organization and problem-solving are all generally valuable no matter what career field you choose.

You can also start rebuilding your experience by picking up volunteer or contract positions in your new desired field.

Step 5: Lean on Your Network

All the years you spent networking will certainly pay off when it’s time to change careers. Sure, you probably built your professional network based on your current career but you never know who other people know and how these contacts can help you.

Tell friends, family, and colleagues about your career shift and ask if they have any leads or can keep an eye out for opportunities they may come across. Start attending local networking events or meetups geared toward people in your new career field. And, update your LinkedIn profile to reflect your past and present skills and education.

Step 6: Prepare for a Financial Shift

Finally, it’s crucial that you be mindful of the financial changes you may experience during this transition phase. You may have to take a pay cut when you switch careers.

If you have to go back to school, you’ll have to determine how you’ll pay for tuition and make your loan payments. In the worst case scenario, where a lay-off prompts you to switch careers, you’ll have to figure out how to make ends meet for the time being. This may entail cutting expenses or picking up a side hustle.

In addition, it’s best not to make any hasty moves when you’re switching careers. Continue to work at your current job and build up a solid savings cushion on the side. If you have to go back to school, consider taking online or night classes so you can still work during the day.

Break Into a New Career Field by Going in with a Plan

When you first pursued your current career, you likely had a plan in place. Do the same thing this time around – except with a more detailed plan.

At the end of the day, it will be worth it when you start a new and exciting career that you truly enjoy and find fulfilling.

 

Are Alternative Education Programs Worth the Investment?

The numbers aren’t pretty. In 2017, the average college graduate had an average monthly student loan payment of $393. In 2018, outstanding student loan debt among all Americans stood at $1.44 trillion, and 12% of that debt was at least 90 days past-due.

With numbers like that, it’s no wonder you might be rethinking getting a four-year degree. After all, it’s not uncommon to hear about people taking out crippling student loans only to go right back to working at Starbucks.

Yet, there is another option — alternative education programs. These can be trickier to cobble together since you may not have access to an easy pipeline of federal student loans (for better or for worse), but it can be done. We’ll give you the scoop on some common programs, and how you can make them work for you and your bank account.

Coding Bootcamps

Have you heard of coding “bootcamps”? These programs are designed to fast-track you to an entirely new career in the tech industry in as little as three months. And, did you know that these bootcamps offer the potential of making a six-figure salary right out of the gate. (It’s true: my husband just got a high salary offer after finishing a General Assembly coding bootcamp.)

Coding bootcamps aren’t without their risks, however. They’re generally expensive. For example, Full Stack Academy costs up to $17,910 for a 13-week program, and General Assembly charges up to $13,950 for its program. These courses may offer pay-in-full discounts, scholarships, income sharing agreements, or personal loans as a way to pay the tuition bill if you can’t pony up the cash on your own.

It’s important to thoroughly vet these programs before you attend, and don’t just trust the statistics that the companies publicize. Instead, ask to speak with real graduates who’ve gotten jobs, and ask about the outcomes of their classmates as well to get a more realistic view of what you can — or cannot — expect.

Start a Business

Sure, your grandpa may have told you to start your own business like he did instead of going to college. These days, however, you don’t necessarily have to go it alone.

There are many programs out there dedicated to helping budding entrepreneurs launch startups. These outfits — including accelerators, incubators or startup accelerators – can provide the technical expertise, coaching, office space, and even funding to launch your business successfully.

Typically, you apply for these programs, and need to be accepted to get in. Some are run by universities (meaning one or more people on the team need to be an enrolled student), and others are private groups. Accelerators typically make money by taking a stake in your business (i.e., equity), so they have a vested interest in helping your company succeed.

Associate Degrees or Certificates

Who said you need a four-year degree to succeed? Maybe you only need two years of college, or less. The reality is that many professions only require a couple years or less of coursework, including:

  • Radiation therapist
  • Physical therapist assistant
  • Dental hygienist
  • Emergency medical technician (EMT)
  • HVAC technician

The advantage of these career prep programs is that they’re often in high demand, meaning your odds are good for getting a job. You can also use student loans to pay for your education, but you won’t have nearly as much debt coming out of school as you would if you graduate from a four-year-degree program.

Join the Military

It’s true — Uncle Sam wants you. Yet, careers in the military can come at a high personal cost. Depending on your MOS (Military Occupation Specialty — i.e. your job within the military), you may see active combat in war zones and be deployed away from your family for long periods of time. You may also not get to choose where you live — the military will decide for you. You could end up living in a exotic location abroad, or in a cornfield in Iowa.

The rewards, however, are equally as great. You’ll be paid for the entire duration you’re in the military, including while you’re in training (and you can even take these skills with you to new jobs if you leave the military.)

You can earn extra pay in the way of signing bonuses if you choose certain specialties that may require you to be in a combat zone, a high cost-of-living area, or outside the continental U.S. The military may also provide housing and health care for you and your family, GI Bill benefits, subsidized housing, and retirement benefits.

Trade Apprenticeships

Since so many people are being pushed to go to college these days, there’s actually a serious shortage of jobs in the trades. This includes construction workers, plumbers, electricians, pipefitters, factory workers, and other physical jobs. From 2016-2026, the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects openings for another 180,500 construction workers.

This leaves a wide-open opportunity for you: Jobs are in high demand and salaries are equally high to match. Even better, many trade unions offer apprenticeship trainings for an affordable price or even for free. You may not be paid while you’re actually in class (which generally lasts for a short time), but you’ll be paid while you’re learning on the job.

You Don’t Necessarily Need a Four-Year Degree

Don’t let anyone push you into a four-year degree if that’s not what you want. The truth is that there are plenty of other options out there these days, and more are springing up each year.

College used to be a guaranteed way to get a leg up. But unless you have a concrete plan or know exactly what you want to do, it can also be a liability, especially if you have to balance savings with debt payments. Instead, set your sights on what matters most to you in your career — whether that includes college or not.

 

The Most Valuable Career Skills That Will Help You Get the Raise

Once you’ve landed a job that you enjoy and you’re excelling at work, these questions may pop up: “How can I get a raise or promotion, and what skills should I master to climb the career ladder?”

Whether you’re in an entry-level job or you’re a more experienced career professional, there are a number of skills that will help you get a raise and develop your career over the long-term.

Take a look at four top skills to help you build a career in nearly any field, boost your earnings, and save more money in your bank account.

1. Improve communication

Do you ever feel like your manager or co-workers don’t understand what you’re trying to say? If so, you may want to work on your communication skills.

Communication is a vital skill to develop in any work situation, but especially when you’re trying to progress in your career.

“We all hear that the most important thing is to become a good communicator, and it really is,” says Jane Scudder, coach and founder of The New Exec.

Scudder says that often an employee will communicate with a manager by jumping right into the details, without understanding that the manager needs to see the situation’s big picture first. She says this is a big communication mistake.

“Don’t start with the details. Start with the bigger picture and let the details follow.”

Before talking to your boss, ask yourself: What does she care about and how can I communicate this in a way that makes sense to her? Once you know this, you can then dive into the details.

2. Manage your time

Time management has been one of the top skills on the LinkedIn list of in-demand soft skills for multiple years in a row. It’s easy to understand why. No one wants an employee who shows up late or isn’t able to meet deadlines. And, a survey of employers found that time management skills were one of the most difficult skills to find among MBA graduates.

Luckily, time management doesn’t need to be a difficult skill to develop. There are a lot of small changes you can make to see improvements in the way you manage your time. An easy place to start is to identify your priorities ahead of time.

Time management expert Laura Vanderkam suggests that if you work a Monday to Friday schedule, you should spend time on Friday afternoon setting your priorities for the upcoming week. Plan to tackle the most important priorities on Monday or Tuesday so that if other things pop up during the week, you’ll already have completed your most important tasks.

3. Network

Networking can get a bad rap, but it’s a skill that will help you move up the career ladder and earn more money. Thankfully, improving your networking skills doesn’t have to mean forcing yourself to go to networking events – if that’s not your thing. But skipping events doesn’t mean you can skip out on mastering this skill.

Learning how to network takes practice and preparation. If someone has agreed to meet you for coffee, Scudder advises sending them a calendar invite, picking a meeting location that is convenient for that person, and planning discussion points ahead of time.

“Come prepared and be ready to answer the question, ‘How can I help you?’ This is your moment,” she says.

And, don’t forget to offer your help as well. We often think that networking with someone further along career-wise makes this a one-way street. Scudder says this isn’t true. Think of ways you can offer up guidance or resources and, if you’re truly at a loss, you can always ask a simple question: “How can I help you?”

The ability to network isn’t just important in the early years of your career. In a survey of companies hiring MBA graduates, the ability to build and maintain a network was one of the most sought after skills.

4. Expand your technical skillset

Soft skills, like the ones listed above, are indeed important when it comes to career advancement. Yet, it’s also valuable to continue expanding your technical skillset.

Technical skills make it easier for you to raise your hand and take a new opportunity when it comes along. Not only will this help you get the raise, but this can ensure your skills stay relevant in the ever-changing job market.

Just how quickly are jobs changing? According to an estimate from the World Economic Forum, 65% of children in primary school today will work in a job type that doesn’t currently exist. And some of the most in-demand jobs didn’t exist 10 years ago (like app developer and social media manager).

While no one can predict exactly which skills will be in demand in the future, LinkedIn has a list of the most in-demand hard skills that employers are currently looking for. Topping the list are cloud computing, artificial intelligence, analytical reasoning, and people management.

Fortunately, learning these new skills doesn’t always require going back to school. If you’re looking to develop some of these hard skills, there are plenty of online resources that can help. For example, online courseware sites like Udemy and Coursera have affordable options that cover a broad range of topics.

Are you ready to uplevel your career?

Once you’ve honed these four skills and landed your raise, it’s time to celebrate!

But don’t get ahead of yourself by letting your newfound money slip through your fingers. Start creating a financially secure future for yourself by creating a budget and automatically saving your hard-earned cash.

 

5 Ways to Help Bridge the Wage Gap

What’s better than watching your hard-earned dollars hit your bank account on payday?

Not much – except that if you’re a woman, checking your direct deposit pay stub can be a letdown. Why? Because the gender pay gap – or the gap between what men and women earn – is very much alive and well. This means that you could be earning more money for doing the same job you do right now.

This is why it’s important that we understand the premise behind Equal Pay Day and learn how to raise awareness about paycheck inequality. Equal Pay Day, which landed on April 2 2019, symbolizes how far into the year women had to work in order to earn what men earned during 2018. This means women had to work for three more months just to earn the same amount as their male counterparts!

How Wide Is the Gender Pay Gap?

According to the American Association of University Women (AAUW), women in the U.S. who work full-time year-round make 80% of what men do.

When earnings for men and women are broken down further, by ethnicity or for certain professions, the gap becomes more pronounced. Hispanic and Latina women, for example, face the biggest gap, earning just 53 percent of what the average white man does. In terms of career paths, the gap is widest among financial managers, with women earning 35 percent less than their male colleagues.

“The less money women earn over the course of their careers, the less money they’re able to save for retirement,” says financial coach Maggie Germano.

“To make matters worse, women live longer than men, so they have less money to stretch over a longer period of time,” says Germano.

The gender pay gap is closing, but slowly. In fact, it’ll take about 200 years for the gap to close completely, if earnings keep growing at the current pace. What does this mean for women who are trying to build up their savings and plan for the future now? Germano recommends that women start by negotiating a higher salary.

Here are five other ways to just say ‘no’ to unfair pay:

1. Dress the Part

Red is the unofficial color code of Equal Pay Day. It’s meant to symbolize how the gender pay gap keeps women in the red financially when it comes to what they earn. Wearing red to the office and encouraging your co-workers and friends to do the same is a simple way to show solidarity for women workers and the equal pay movement as a whole.

2. Let Lawmakers Know You’re In Favor of Equal Pay

Closing the gender pay gap for good in the U.S. becomes easier when there are laws in place that require equal pay for men and women across the board. It’s up to legislators to introduce bills that can make these kinds of laws a reality. This is an opportunity for you to make a difference.

“You can lobby your politicians to pass equal pay laws,” Germano says.

“Individuals can make change at the micro level, but decision makers can make change at the macro level,” she says.

If you don’t know who your local and state legislators are, get to know them. From there, you can launch an email or letter writing campaign asking them to back the passage of federal laws for equal pay. If you want to do more than just write letters, you can create a petition championing equal pay and submit it to the White House.

3. Encourage Your Employer to Open Up About Pay

Asking your cubicle neighbor how much he earns is generally considered taboo. But you can get a sense of the pay scale by going straight to the top.

Specifically, this means asking your employer to be transparent about compensation for different roles within the company. When pay scales are transparent, this can help raise awareness about what does or doesn’t constitute equal pay.

But don’t be surprised if you’re met with some resistance. Since 2010, the percentage of employers that disclose pay information on a wide scale to employees has been shrinking steadily. In a 2019 survey, just eight percent of companies said they planned to share pay ranges and employee pay information with all their employees.

Still, it’s worth making the effort. Reach out to your HR department and ask what pay range details are available. And encourage your co-workers to do the same.

“The workplace is a big place for impact when the voice for disclosures is coming from the employees themselves, and in particular, the male employees, knowing they also want a fair and equal work environment,” says Kristin Hull, founder and CEO of Nia Impact Capital, a women-led registered investment advisor firm.

Hull also says that the call on the part of investors for companies to share disclosures is leading to improvements.

“Once companies decide to disclose their data, they actually take a look at it, and are more likely to make internal improvements when they’re being public about their pay gaps,” she says.

4. Give Equal Pay a Social Media Shout Out

Let your followers know you’re in favor of equal pay by launching a social media blitz.

Tweet to your lawmakers asking for equal pay legislation. Repost news articles or studies on equal pay to your feeds. Take a poll asking your followers what they think about the gender wage gap. Upload a video clip or a host a short live feed letting people know why the wage gap needs to be closed.

You can even share this article!

5. Donate for the Cause

Last but not least, you can show your support for equal pay by donating to a nonprofit that advocates for women and minority workers. It doesn’t have to be a huge donation; just something to show that you care about making the wage gap a thing of the past.

If you’re looking for organizations to donate to, consider Equal Pay Today, the National Women’s Law Center or the AAUW.

How Will You Show Support for Equal Pay?

Are you ready to do your part to close the gender wage gap? You can start by using these five tips to help women earn and save more money.

 

How Women Can Get the Salary They Deserve

Have you heard? Women still get paid less than men.

In fact, Economic Policy Institute reports that women earn an average of 22% less per hour than men — even when controlling for race, education, experience and location.

Although a myriad of societal and economic factors contribute to the wage gap, you have direct control over one important thing: the amount of money you ask for. According to a recent survey by Robert Half, only 46% of men and 34% of women negotiated their starting salaries. And, Glassdoor estimates that by not negotiating, the average worker leaves $7,500 — or 13.3% of their salary — on the table.

While you can’t go back in time and negotiate your starting pay, you can aim to get a raise this year. Here’s advice from three salary negotiation experts on how to get paid what you deserve.

Determine What You’re Bringing to the Table

Before asking for a raise, Kathlyn Hart, financial empowerment coach and creator of Be Brave Get Paid, says you need to figure out why you deserve one.

“You can’t just say, ‘Oh I work hard,’ because everyone works hard,” she says.

Specifically, you should ask yourself:

  • What are your job duties? How are you excelling beyond them?
  • How has your work — either by cutting costs or boosting profits — improved the company’s bottom line?

“At the end of the day, a raise can only be merited because you’re helping your company move further,” she says. “Or because you’re holding responsibilities above and beyond your current job description.”

Jacqueline Twillie, a negotiation strategist, also recommends aligning your contributions with your company’s quarterly and annual priorities.

“Get clear on how your work plays into the overall objectives. Managers really want to know that employees are buying in,” says Twillie.

Communicate With Your Boss

If you have regular meetings with your supervisor, get straight to the point — and acknowledge that you’d like a future raise or promotion, says Ashley Paré, the CEO and founder of Own Your Worth.

For example, asking your boss: “What else do you need from me…to advocate on my behalf?” will give you “clarity on where they stand in supporting you and your performance.”

Twillie agrees. “When you’re in a one-on-one with your boss, tell her about your career aspirations and find out what it will take for you to get there,” she says.

“Then level up in those areas, clearly communicating along the way that you’re expecting a promotion or raise.”

Be sure to amplify any positive feedback, too.

“Accept the compliment and share it with your direct supervisor. If you downplay your contributions, so will everyone else,” Twillie says.

Do Your Research

Once you’ve taken the necessary actions to merit a raise, it’s time to determine your target number.

Websites like Salary.com, Payscale, and Glassdoor will give you a salary range based on your industry, job title, education, and years of experience. To pinpoint where you fall, consider the amount of value you bring to the company.

“As women, we’ll naturally cut ourselves a little bit short,” says Hart.

“I always encourage [upping] your expectations a little bit. For any salary negotiation, you’re always going to start higher and come down. You don’t want to negotiate against yourself before the negotiation has even happened,” she says.

Prepare Your Case

If you’re afraid of negotiation, the best armor you have is information.

Paré suggests asking peers, mentors, and other leaders how your organization generally handles raises and promotions. If you can grab coffee with someone who recently went through the process, even better.

“The more you know up front, the less stressful the experience will be,” says Paré.

Hart advises preparing a one-pager that outlines your accomplishments and your competitive research. Twillie recommends including metrics that are important to your manager, too. (You can determine those by paying attention to what they reference in emails and meetings.)

“Negotiation is a conversation — not a battle — and the more information you’ve gathered prior to the discussion, the better-informed [case] you’ll be able to make,” says Twillie.

Practice Your Pitch

Whatever you do, don’t wing it with your ask.

“Write out exactly what you plan to say in the meeting, then practice the pitch out loud. Feeling confident is key,” says Paré.

Both Paré and Twillie suggest recording yourself on your phone, then listening to the playback and tweaking your delivery.

Hart also urges raise-seeking women to “look for ways to negotiate outside your job.” At a restaurant, for example, you could ask for a side of ranch after your server has already come to the table. Or you could ask for a slight alteration to your Starbucks order — after it has already been rung up.

She says pushing your boundaries in these small ways will help you conquer the “fear of asking for more” that nearly all of us have.

Crush Your Meeting

It’s almost showtime. To schedule a conversation with your boss, Hart suggests saying: “I want to set up a meeting to talk about my future with the company.”

Then, once you’re in the meeting, avoid diving straight into the salary talk.

Instead, Hart says you should discuss the following:

  • What you’ve accomplished over the past year
  • How much you’ve enjoyed being a part of the company
  • What you’re most proud of
  • What you’re excited to tackle next

“When a company gives you a raise, it’s not just based on your past,” explains Hart.

“It’s also on your promise for what you’re delivering in the future… [Your manager] is really looking to not only reward what you’ve done, but also show you they’re looking forward to you continuing to contribute,” she says.

Only after highlighting your accomplishments and goals should you ask something like: “Moving forward, what could my compensation look like?”

Usually, Hart says it’s better to leave the discussion open and see what your manager offers. If, however, you’re trying to justify a big leap in pay, then she suggests starting from that high number and seeing where she can meet you.

Accept Your Fears

Still nervous? That’s totally normal.

To combat your anxiety, Paré suggests identifying your biggest fear. Are you worried about “ruining” your relationship with your boss? Are you afraid you don’t deserve more?

“You’re capable of handling any outcome. So face your fear and take action anyway,” says Paré.

To push yourself, imagine how it would feel to pay 10% more on your student loans each month, or to accumulate thousands of dollars in extra savings over the next few years.

Hart also notes that, when you make an ask, you’ll nearly always be successful in some way. Even if you don’t get the raise you were looking for, you’ll gain the knowledge or confidence to land one in the future.

“If you don’t ask, the answer is always no,” she says, adding that it’s important to “be brave.”

 

A 12-Step Plan for a Better Career in the New Year

There are two types of people: the ones who make New Year’s resolutions and the ones who don’t. I’m firmly on the don’t side — I like to set goals instead, like fattening up my savings account.

If one of your goals for 2019 is kicking your career into high gear, you’ll need a plan to make it happen. And, breaking your career-boosting strategy down into monthly tasks can help you make big strides by year’s end.

To help you get going, take a look at this month-to-month guide.

January: Set career goals

As you start a new year, think about where you want to end it, career-wise, and plan it as a whole process, says Piotr Sosnowski, vice president and co-founder of career site Zety.

“Imagine yourself in a gym on the first week of January, packed with hyper-optimistic sports newbies that made going to the gym a New Year’s resolution,” he says.

“Two weeks in and the gym is nice and quiet again. It’s because some people tend to approach their goals in a very ambitious way, focusing on a goal itself and forgetting that getting into shape is a whole, sometimes even hard process.”

To stay motivated in your career pursuits for the long-haul, try SMART goals  This means you’ll make your goals specific, measurable, actionable, realistic and time-bound, while still keeping the big picture in sight.

February: Know your worth

Be ready to prove your value as an employee in the New Year.

“Hiring managers want to see upward mobility, awards and accomplishments on your resume and LinkedIn profile,” says executive career coach Jaime Chapman.

“On paper, it’s easy to distinguish a rising star from a clock puncher,” she says.

Make a detailed list of your career achievements, such as:

  • Major projects you’ve spearheaded
  • Ways you’ve saved your company time and increased efficiency
  • Monthly and annual sales numbers if you’re in a sales-based position
  • How much money you’ve helped the company save or how much you’ve helped to increase profits

Be specific, using hard numbers whenever possible so you can explain your value concisely.

“Create an elevator pitch and a punch line to quickly and clearly articulate what you do and why you’re good at it. At networking events and in casual introductions, the elevator pitch and punch line are a secret weapon—quickly weeding out irrelevant connections and engaging the right audience,” Chapman says.

March: Network

Speaking of networking, spend some time working on fostering connections.

“The best method to get a better job is using your number one asset – people,” Chapman says.

Some simple, but powerful ways to grow your network in 2019 include:

  • Attending industry-specific conferences or meet-ups in your area
  • Reaching out to hiring managers and influencers on LinkedIn
  • Regularly sending out notes to stay in touch with existing connections

“The goal is to be the first person that pops into the mind of your immediate circle of influence,” Chapman says.

April: Learn something new

If you want to get ahead at work, commit to becoming a lifelong learner.

“One of the best ways you can improve your career is to invest in your own learning,” says Jessica Hernandez, president of Great Resumes Fast, an executive resume writing service.

“If there’s something you want to learn about, resolve to invest in reading about it, studying it, taking an online course or earning a certification,” she says.

Don’t limit yourself to skills or knowledge that apply to your current job either. Learning how to code or master Photoshop, for example, are skills you can parlay into a lucrative side hustle or even a full-time business.

May: Refresh your resume

While you’re doing your spring cleaning, don’t forget to give your resume a thorough once-over.

“One of the best ways to improve your career is to have a great resume ready before you need it,” Hernandez says.

“Make it a point to update your resume at least every six months or sooner if there’s a major change in your position, responsibilities or accomplishments, and keep a master resume on file that you can add things to as they happen.”

Think outside the box in terms of formatting. Consider swapping out the standard vanilla format for an infographic, slideshow or video resume to show off your skills and your personality.

June: Build mentoring relationships

Jonathan H. Phillips, co-author of Living Your Best Career, says having a personal board of directors is essential for career advancement.

“The truth is, your career doesn’t live in a vacuum. It’s intimately tied to other personal and professional stakeholders,” Phillips says.

He recommends looking to your network and choosing a shortlist of influential contacts. Ideally, your mentors should help guide you through large and small career decisions.

July: Become an expert

If you’re not yet an expert or influencer in your field, consider making that a priority for 2019.

“Speak at conferences, publish articles or a book, teach a webinar or appear as a guest on a podcast. The opportunities are limitless to put yourself out there so don’t be afraid to brag a little bit,” Chapman says.

If you’ve got a sizable LinkedIn network, consider publishing a short article weekly on topics related to your industry. Or, you can try your hand at blogging if you have a lot to say about a particular topic.

“Building your expertise will create a demand for you,” Chapman says.

August: Improve your interview skills

Job-hopping can be rewarding if it leads to a better position or pay. But you’ll have to get through the interview process first.

“Interviewing is an art form and requires a lot of preparation,” Chapman says.

Try these tips for nailing interviews every time:

  • Get to know the company you’re interviewing for
  • Research the most commonly asked interview questions
  • Tell stories with your answers
  • Use concrete examples to showcase your skills and experience
  • Ask insightful questions
  • Let your “you” shine through

Most importantly, remember to follow up. In a Robert Half survey, 100% of hiring managers said they want to hear from job candidates after the initial interview is over.

September: Negotiate a better salary

Chapman raises a good point about getting ahead in 2019: “What’s the point of all this work if you don’t increase your salary as a result?”

To get paid what you’re worth, start by researching average salaries for someone with your experience and in your field. PayScale and Glassdoor are a couple of helpful resources to check out.

Hone in on your preferred salary number, then commit to broaching the subject of a pay raise with your employer.

“Have a conversation about total compensation, including salary, time off, insurance and retirement benefits,” Chapman says.

“Get them talking, try not to reveal your numbers first and be prepared to walk away if you don’t receive the salary you feel you deserve.”

October: Stay engaged

Career coach Mark Anthony Dyson says it’s critical to stay in career advancement mode and avoid developing tunnel vision in your current role.

“It takes so long to get traction in a job search when you’ve disengaged from your network, industry trends and being active in your industry’s organizations,” says Dyson.

So, remember to stay in touch with your network regularly. You can do that by:

  • Subscribing to trade magazines for your industry
  • Reading industry-specific blogs
  • Following industry bigwigs on social media

November: Ask for feedback

Rather than cringing away from criticism, use it to your advantage.

“One thing that’s often underrated but can have serious consequences for professional and personal development is learning how to take genuine feedback graciously,” says Ketan Kapoor, CEO and co-founder of online performance software provider Mettl.

“When someone gives you feedback in their capacity as your colleague, friend, peer, manager, boss or associate, appreciate it, take in stride and filter it to get to the crux of what you need to improve — skills, attitude or personality,” says Kapoor.

December: Show your gratitude

As another year winds down, celebrate your wins and use career setbacks as learning tools. And remember to show your appreciation to the people who have helped you along your career path so far.

You don’t necessarily need to buy pricey gifts but sending out holiday cards or a personalized notes can close out the year on a positive note.

 

5 Job Interview No-Nos from the Experts

You’ve scored an interview for your ideal job with the dream salary you want to get paid. Yes! “I can’t mess this up,” you think. So you start preparing and figuring out how you can ace the interview and make it to the next step.

But before you let your nerves get the best of you, it’s important to understand that interviewing for a job is more of an art than a science. And, there are some definite no-nos to avoid at all costs. To help you out, we talked to human resources experts and hiring managers to learn more about what you absolutely should not do. Take a look at these 5 things to avoid in a job interview:

1. Don’t talk trash about your current employer

If you’re on the hunt for a new job, it’s likely that your job interviewer will ask about your current employer. But, even if you’re itching to leave your job because you hate it, you don’t have to dis your boss or the company you currently work for.

“There is nothing worse than hearing an employee bad mouth a current employer during an interview; not only is it awkward, but it also instantly makes a bad impression,” says Matt Dunne, hiring manager at Africa Travel.

Also, talking trash about your current employer is unprofessional, and this won’t win you any bonus points.

“Slandering your current employer to prove you’re ready to move onto the next step in your career may sound great in your head, but that’s where it should stay. After all, an employer expects you to speak highly of their company, no matter what the circumstance,” says Dunne.

2.  Not having questions ready

After any interview, a standard question is, “Do you have any questions for me?”

You might think you covered everything and you’re good to go. Nope. You should always come up with some good questions to either ask in the interview or afterwards. This proves you are truly interested in learning as much as you can about the employer and prospective job.

“When an employer ends an interview with “do you have any questions for me?” try not to make up questions on the fly. This shows a lack of preparation and often the answers could easily be found with a quick search,” says Alex Robinson, hiring manager at Team Building Hero.

“Instead, say ‘I do have some questions, and I’d like to spend a little more time thinking about them. Would it be okay if I follow-up by email?’ This approach shows strong critical thinking skills and gives you an opportunity to connect with the interviewer again.”

3. Lacking passion and interest

Have you ever been around someone who is so passionate about a particular topic that you can’t help but get drawn into her magnetism? It’s infectious and makes you listen, right? In a job interview, you want to be this person.

“If you’re a job candidate, I recommend you tell the person interviewing you specifically why you want to work at that company. Do you use their products or services yourself? Do you know someone who works there and loves it? What is it about the company that gets you excited?” says Richard Blazevich, author of Interview Prep Playbook.

Sharing your passion for the job and/or company can win you a lot of points, especially if your resume may need a little padding in the skills department. Many skills can be taught but passion can’t be bought. Having a genuine passion and illustrating that in an interview may help you get to the next round.

4. Not following-up with a thank you

Should you or shouldn’t you follow-up after a job interview? Trick question.

You should always follow-up after an interview. Yes, always.

“Send thank you notes. Email a different/unique thank you note to every person you met within 24 hours. You will need their email address, so be sure to get business cards from everyone. And don’t be lazy and copy/paste the same message to everyone, they might chat and share your note. Tweak each one to be a little different,” says David B. Nast, CEO and managing partner of Nast Partners, a human capital management and talent optimization firm.

If you want, you can go to the next level and send a handwritten note. Be sure to mail it that day so it can get to your interviewers ASAP.

5. Being late

There’s a huge cardinal sin when it comes to interviews: being late. Arriving late for an appointment is disrespectful to everyone and doesn’t give off a great first impression. So, avoid this at all costs by preparing ahead.

“Scout the location a few days before the interview and plan to arrive 15-30 mins early.  Program the main number or the admin’s number into your phone, so that if you are running late, you can call ahead and let them know you are running late and why you are late,” says Nast.

On the day of the interview leave extra early. Being early is always better than being late. And besides, if you arrive early, you can relax a bit. Maybe you can even grab a cup of coffee or a snack and make notes before heading into your interview.

Final word

Nailing a job interview is just one step in the hiring process. But it’s a necessary one and a step that you must pass in order to move on in the process.

In order to boost your chances of landing that job you’ve had your eye on, avoid these 5 interview no-nos at all costs. This will help you achieve both career and financial success in the new year.

 

4 Career Moves You Should Make This Year

New year. New career moves.

Think of this year as a new opportunity to take your career to the next level. Yup, there’s no time like the present to make sure you’re happy with your job and career path. It’s also the perfect time to learn new skills or consider a career move.

Leveling up in your career often goes hand-in-hand with your financial goals. This may mean increasing your savings, paying down your debt, and earning more money. If you’re looking to take your professional life to the next level, here are the best career moves you can make this year.

Learn a New Skill

How often do you learn new skills? Well, it’s time to do this. Why? Learning new skills will help you evolve with your career and make you more marketable in your industry.

When I worked at a web design company as a content writer, I made it a point to learn new skills. The industry was often changing and I had to keep up. Plus, I knew that I could make more money by advancing my skills. So, I learned how to do light website coding and SEO (search engine optimization). I wasn’t the only one. One of my coworkers got certified in SEO and in turn, he created a whole new position for himself. Mind you, this company was a start-up so things were flexible. But, you can advance your skills regardless of where you work.

There are plenty of courses available and you don’t have to go back to school for a degree. You can use sites like Udemy and Coursera to search for online courses that interest you. For example, perhaps you can take an affordable social media course online during your spare time. And just think: the courses you take can help you at your current job, or maybe even lead you to start a new side hustle to make extra money. The opportunities are endless.

Ask For a Raise

This is one of the best times of the year to ask your employer for a raise. Companies usually have new budgets set in January and are already considering things like wages, expenses, and goals for the year.

If you haven’t done so already, schedule a sit down with your employer so you can discuss your role over the past year and then broach the subject of getting a raise or promotion. If you have focused on gaining new skills, discuss this with your boss as you can now bring more to the table.

Sometimes it can be intimidating to ask for a raise but it’s worth it. And just think: Most people don’t get raises simply because they don’t ask for them.

Remember: Earning more money each year is a crucial part of advancing your career – not to mention that it helps you keep up with cost of living increases and pay your bills.

Look For a Full-Time Job With Benefits

When looking for a new job, most people focus on the salary as the top factor. While it’s important to make sure you’re getting paid well and on time, it’s also important to consider the benefits package. If your current job doesn’t offer a benefits package, it may be time to start looking for a new job.

Vacation days, medical insurance, and a 401(k) plan can help you get ahead financially. If your employer offers a great health plan, that’s a major win. The same goes with an employer-sponsored retirement plan.

So, if you’re working part-time or don’t have benefits at your current job, consider seeking a full-time job and negotiating for a benefits package that will help support your lifestyle and protect your family.

Establish an Extra Income Stream

How many income streams do you have? The average self-made millionaire has seven.

Think about it: If you’re looking to make extra money during your spare time, you can monetize one of your hobbies and earn money doing something you enjoy. Or, perhaps you can leverage a skill to create a new side hustle and generate an entirely new income stream.

For example, consider writing e-books, selling items online, walking dogs, investing in real estate, selling homemade products on Etsy, or even running errands. If you don’t want to start a business from scratch, you can even take advantage of the gig economy and drive for Uber or Lyft on the side. The extra money you earn can be added back into your budget or used to accelerate debt payoff. You can also earmark your extra cash toward a large purchase or upcoming vacation.

Who knows, you may even launch a side business that will eventually replace your main job!

Take Your Career to the Next Level

Whether you’re gunning for a promotion or want to start a side hustle, make 2019 the year that you take your career to the next level.

Start by determining what you want your career to look like in one year, five years or 10 years. Then, focus on learning at least one new skill and exploring other options to make extra money. This may lead to a lucrative side hustle, a new job, or a raise or promotion at your current job.

One final tip: The more secure you make your career, the more secure your finances will be over time.

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