Hard work, negotiating prowess, teamwork: These are on every list of job skills that can help you get a raise. Hence, every one of your co-workers — the ones competing for that promotion you want — know about them, too.
But there are many other, lesser-known and vastly underrated key skills that could help you make more money. Here are seven such skills, and how to get them.
1. Concise Communication
We all know that many employers highly regard great communication skills, but being concise will put you at the top of the raise list, said Igor Kholkin, an operations manager with web design and marketing company Coalition Technologies.
“People who can make a point in as few words as possible are terrific candidates for management positions,” he said. “They are time-efficient, and they can explain anything quickly.”
If you don’t have time to take a class in communication, don’t fret. Kholkin suggested a good habit to help build this key skill. Review each of your messages, and trim it of all the “fat.” This includes unnecessary details, adverbs and adjectives that dress up a sentence but don’t add any real value.
“The remaining message should include all of the important details to be conveyed in as few words as possible,” he said. You’ll be typing “Thanks for the raise” in no time.
2. A High ‘Emotional Quotient’
Being especially adept at reading and understanding others’ emotions is a highly valued but vastly underrated job skill, said Kholkin.
“The millennial workforce loves leaders with a high EQ, which leads those who possess it to be promoted into managerial positions,” he said. That’s because managers with a high EQ will know how to get the most out of their staff in any industry, said Kholkin.
A first step to improving this key skill is learning to objectively identify your own emotions — and how they affect your behavior.
“You can then apply this knowledge to identify others’ emotions, how to empathize with them and work with them towards agreeable outcomes,” said Kholkin. Your boss, as well as your co-workers, will not only take note, they’ll admire and appreciate your high EQ.
3. The Ability to Influence
The ability to get people to do whatever you need them to do without forcing them to do it is invaluable and will often lead to promotions and raises, said Kholkin. “With this skill, the best team leaders will be able to motivate their teams organically,” he said. But remember: True influencers are looked up to, not feared or followed strictly based on strong debating skills.
To develop this skill, become the proactive thinker and doer on your team, suggested Kholkin.
“Volunteer to take on the hardest tasks, or be the one to give a pep talk during a challenging stretch in a project. Inspire the team by being the first one to spring into action,” he said. Watch how fast your boss notices.
No one likes a downer. But an employee who is positive, even when given a downer of an assignment, is going to get appreciated, said Deborah Sweeney, an entrepreneur and CEO of MyCorporation.
“While so many employees plug along within their job descriptions, it’s noteworthy when someone has a positive attitude and engages with other team members and customers in a positive way,” she said. That person, she added, is most likely to get a raise.
If you’re not always as positive as you think you should be, there are ways to turn that frown upside down. The Mayo Clinic listed habits that can help build this key skill. They include:
- Check yourself for negativity often
- Be open to humor
- Live a healthy lifestyle
- Keep the company of positive people
- Practice positive self-talk
Practice these habits enough, and you might make more money — which will really help your positivity.
5. Track Everything
One of the biggest mistakes professionals make is waiting until just before their review process to try to remember which deals they closed or what projects they finished, said Graeme Austen, a career expert and founder of the career consulting firm Cultivated Culture. He said that’s a recipe for disaster and no raise.
The good news is that acquiring this skill doesn’t demand any talent or learning, he said. All you need to do is create a spreadsheet and set up columns that track all of your accomplishments. Make sure you list the details, like dates, and specifically explain how it helped the company.
“This gives you a lot of leverage when it comes to negotiating your salary,” said Austen.
If you think mindfulness is something you do outside the office to rebalance your life, you might want to think again. Studies show that this can be a vital job skill that can improve your productivity and decision-making. Because of that, this skill could land you a raise, said Judith Lukomski, a career coach and founder of Transitions Today Performance Consulting.
There are many ways to cultivate mindfulness. For example, Lukomski suggested meditation and yoga. But if those aren’t for you, you can practice mindfulness simply by engaging fully in the moment or the task at hand. Be mindful of what you are doing. In other words, concentrate your thoughts on the task at hand while understanding its importance. Better results, along with a potential raise, will follow, said Lukomski.
7. Networking Within
When you think of networking, you probably think in terms of growing a base of contacts within an industry so if you need to transition to another job, you’ll have contacts in other companies. But getting to know the people within your current organization, professionally and socially, can really pay off at raise time, said Dr. James Stanger, senior director of products for CompTIA, a nonprofit trade association representing the technology industry.
This is an easy one to practice. “The people who move forward are the ones who understand the perspectives of others,” said Stanger. “So take the blinders off to see the perspective that others are experiencing. Get to know what they do.”
Go out of your way to make friends and build a network within. You’ll have a network of co-workers pulling for you, and come raise time, management will know it.