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  • 6 Ways To Get & Keep A Higher-Paying Job You Love
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6 Ways To Get & Keep A Higher-Paying Job You Love

March 7th, 2019 -- Laura Lee Williams
Take control of your career, your future with these tips on finding and keeping a job you love.
By Laura Williams

A higher-paying, more satisfying job is now within your reach! If you’re not feeling fulfilled at your current job, know that today’s economy and available resources make it possible for you to make a change. Keep in mind that you are the best person to count on to advance your career. There is no one else more qualified or more motivated to help you succeed. That’s why you can’t let yourself get stuck in a job or career that makes you unhappy. Explore current job opportunities on sites such as LinkedIn, Indeed and monster.com, and you will see the variety of careers available and the job skills needed to succeed at a new job or career.

You may also love the people and company culture where you work now but feel like you don’t have the opportunity to do your best work or the chance to fully contribute in your current role, or move up in the ranks. Don’t rest on your laurels. Think about how to build your technical and communication skills. Perform your best work and seek out a mentor, connect with others to learn more about how to make yourself indispensable AND get recognized for your contributions to your organization.

Act on these ideas and you will be well on your way to the higher-paying, fulfilling job you deserve.

Why Now Is A Great Time to Move Up

If you’ve spent some time thinking about changing jobs or learning skills to advance your career, now is the time. With the current unemployment rates in Kansas and Missouri two of the lowest in the country at 3.3 percent and 3.1 percent respectively according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, even the best companies are scrambling to recruit top talent.

As technology continues to expand, new companies are working to fill niche markets and the skills that go with them. New roles call for new skills. Consider taking a workshop, completing a certificate, tuning into free webinars or even pursuing a degree program on the side.

This type of workforce movement may trigger opportunities in your own company. With people moving up or moving out, there will be open positions that employers would like to fill with qualified internal candidates.

The Importance of Self-Awareness

In today’s crazy-busy world, we sometimes don’t stop long enough to think about ourselves. Yet self-awareness is the first and most important element in recognizing what you need to live a happy, fulfilling life. Self-Awareness is strongly connected to understanding and developing emotional intelligence. Taking time to self-reflect will help you assess what you love doing, what you do best and what shortcomings you may have. It also should include examining your integrity - identifying the core beliefs and values that strengthen it. This assessment can give you a road map to improving the skills you need to have the job you love.

Ways To Get & Keep A Higher-Paying Job You Love

Whether you are looking for the job of your dreams with your current employer, or you’re researching companies you hope to work for, being a valuable asset is the number one way you can earn your spot. To make sure you are considered worth your company’s continued (and growing) investment in terms of long-term employment and climbing the salary chart, consider these ideas for increasing your value.

1. Invest In Classes, Seminars & Workshops

The best employees are always learning. They actively participate in company-sponsored or outside professional development programs, covering the latest techniques, technology, or product information related to the company and/or your current position. These opportunities may be organized during the work day or on the weekends. They could include breakfast seminars, online link and learns, or weekend retreats. Local colleges not only offer advanced master’s degrees – and four-course graduate certificates in relevant topics like communication, but they also offer professional certificates in trending careers from strength and conditioning to cybersecurity for both graduate and undergraduate credits.

If you don’t have a degree from a higher education institution, consider earning a two-year or four-year degree in the specialty area related to your job. Most area colleges offer evening and online classes to accommodate working professionals. These degrees and certificates can not only help you excel at your job, they can often increase your pay rate for the same job.

Professional Workplace Communication Graduate Certificate and M.A. program manager & faculty member Angela Pastorek leads the March 6 KU Quarterly Communications Workplace Summit at the KU Edwards Campus. More than 40 Kansas City area business leaders attended the interactive session titled “Strategies for Avoiding the ‘We Need More Communication Trap.” KU Edwards Campus offers many free workshops and webinars as well as undergraduate and graduate credit courses and degrees to assist working professionals in their career advancement.

2. Set Yourself Apart By Combining Your Skills

Virtually every industry is adapting to changes happening in the world, and their employees must learn how to change and adapt to match new needs. Oftentimes, this involves connecting skills or highlighting your best talents so you stand out to your managers and other company execs.

Are you an accountant who can also write code for the company’s website? Are you a great copywriter who can also design a company flier? If you have more than one skill set, make sure you let your manager or owner know and ask how it may help your organization. If you’ve always wanted to learn a new skill or you know of a need your company has, research ways to learn it. From coding boot camps to workplace communication, you are sure to find something mutually beneficial for you and your company.   Employers love self-starters who are dedicated to self-improvement. Demonstrating this can help you move up in your company or obtain the most satisfying job.

3. Ask About Cross-Training Opportunities

Related to combining your skills is finding opportunities to cross-train within your company. Learning the job requirements and skills for a position in a different department can help increase your value to your employer, help you learn new skills, and keep you from getting bored with your current job. Most employers will notice and appreciate your willingness to learn more about the company. You can also come back to your department and report what you learned.

4. Establish Yourself As An Expert In Your Industry

You’ve done it! You’ve invested in yourself and have valuable skills to bring to your current or new employer. The next step is to make sure the right people know, and start earning what you’re worth in a job you find most meaningful. Here are some tips for establishing yourself to outsiders as an expert in your field:

  • Build your brand on social media by posting about your learning endeavors as well as interesting industry news and trends.
  • Volunteer to speak at industry workshops or conferences about a topic in your skill set.
  • Find podcasts or radio shows about your industry that will host you as a guest speaker.
  • Stay up-to-date on the latest industry trends and then write about it to inform others.
  • Blog about your experience and your skill set on your personal blog or on related industry blogs.
  • Create informative videos and post them on social media and a YouTube channel you create.
  • Freelance using the skills you want to be known for.
  • Network with other professionals in your industry though industry-related or general business professional organizations.

Once you are seen as an expert in your field, it will be much easier to ask for (and get) that raise you deserve, or move to a company who will offer you a higher-paying job.

5. Incorporate Soft Skills, Communication Skills Into Your Workplace

As far back as Google’s breakthrough 2013 research that showed soft skills topped the list of most important qualities of Google’s top employees, employers have understood the value of soft skills in a quality candidate. In 2019, employers are renaming those skills as “hybrid” or “power” skills to further maximize their importance in our global workplace. They are skills that cannot be replaced by machine. Research outlined in a recent LinkedIn article confirms that employers still value these skills more than STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) skills when hiring. The most in-demand skills for 2019, according to the research are the following:

  • Creativity
  • Persuasion
  • Collaboration
  • Adaptability
  • Time Management

These people skills, social skills, and character traits can come naturally, but they can also be learned and improved upon. Learning to create deeper, more meaningful communication is important to your overall organizational culture. You might be surprised at the available workshops you can attend and professional certificates you can earn learning about topics such as workplace communication and other workplace communication insights and skill-building training. These can catapult your career to new heights.

6. Contribute To Positive Workplace Culture

With the competition for the best employees, employers are focused on developing and maintaining positive workplace culture. The numerous benefits of working at a great place - both for the employee and for the company - are widely documented. If you can contribute to that positive culture, employers will see you as a valuable asset. You can make that happen by using effective communication techniques and through your professional leadership. Getting advanced degrees in communication can help you navigate your actions and unpack, understand, and build inclusive workplace cultures.

Developing sensitive and culturally aware responses to other employees and learning to coach employees are a few assets you can bring to your organization. You could also volunteer to mentor an employee, lead a training seminar or organize a company service project.

Make the First Move Toward Your Dream Job

Don’t wait to start your journey toward your higher-paying, more fulfilling job! You may have to push yourself outside your comfort zone to get the ball rolling, but grab one or more of these ideas and move forward. It will be worth it in the end. Focus on what skills and energy you can bring to an employer and then work to hone those skills so you will stand out above the rest. With a little self-awareness and some investment in yourself and your talents, you’ll be saying “yes” to your dream job soon.

Learn more about the academic degrees, courses, and workshops to earn or complete your degree at Kansas City’s KU Edwards Campus.

Learn more about KUEC’s continuing education programs, providing practical knowledge and skills to start, change or advance your career.