by Teena Rose
Surveys have shown that up to 80 percent of those employed are unhappy. Unhappiness results from being overworked/underpaid, a deteriorating relationship with colleagues or management, or possibly, disappointment in oneself. If you plan to sell your time and abilities, why not take complete advantage of your efforts. Being in control of your career and promoting yourself can dissolve dissatisfaction by providing more career options and opening more doors to opportunity.
Volunteering on committees or with non-profit organizations (whether internally or externally) or offering your capabilities when your employer shows a need can educate you on new topics. While learning on the job or within a volunteer position, you'll likely uncover opportunities through continued personal growth or by networking with individuals you wouldn't have met through your existing channels. Added responsibilities will show management that you are serious on saving the company money, or that you care about your community. Executives and business managers want to see measurable results from employees, so I recommend making the effort to step up to the plate.
The benefits of self-marketing can far outweigh the time needed to do so; I'll outline just how in this story about a salesman. If a sales rep out-produces colleagues with over $2 million in yearly sales, then the company probably won't mind paying upwards of six figures to keep this employee happy, right? The company is experiencing a very favorable return on investment, and the employee is trained, independent, and compensated well. It's a win/win situation.
The question now is how did this sales rep turn into an asset. After all, out-producing colleagues is not an easy feat. I'll tell you exactly how this person went from a mediocre $50,000 salary to more than six figures within less than two years.
First, he took the initiative to participate in evening classes on various sales topics, such as relationship building, new selling techniques, and identifying the aspects that provoke decision makers to buy. Did the company pay for these classes? No. He saw the need for improvement and jumped at the chance to enhance his education and produce more revenue for the company.
Second, he focused on external marketing techniques by sending personal press releases to business sections of newspapers and other publications upon obtaining key accounts, participating on non-profit committees, and so on.
One opportunity was particularly beneficial. He elected to serve on a high-profile committee and found himself talking to a secretary that reported to the director of business development for a prominent technical firm. Ironically, his company had been pursuing this corporation for more than five years. He gradually built a relationship and eventually landed the account that produced nearly $1 million in new revenue for his business.
Committee meetings were on his personal time and not compensated. Marketing yourself to the community can enhance your existing job or job search tremendously because companies like to see employees that I'll label "movers and shakers." These individuals don't wait for things to happen; they make them happen.
Third, he documented all career successes and solidified his position in the industry. Documentation can consist of letters from superiors or customers, awards, and/or performance bonuses.
When seeking a raise, he created a presentation that focused on the amount of new revenue he cultivated for the business over the last 12 months and compared it to the proposed new salary. The company would have been crazy to refuse his request. If they did, he would subsequently work for a competitor making him an adversary rather than an ally.
Taking a proactive approach, rather than being reactive, is what catapulted this person to a six-figure salary. Prove yourself an asset to your employer. Make them unable to live without your expertise, your devotion, and your overall dedication to ensuring the company's financial health and customer loyalty.
Questions about some of the terminology used in this article? Get more information (definitions and links) on key college, career, and job-search terms by going to our Job-Seeker's Glossary of Job-Hunting Terms.
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