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

By Erica Gellerman
April 11, 2019

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.

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