Would you like to earn more in your current job? Here are some “secrets” for making yourself more valuable to your employer! As Christians, we are called to serve others and do all things “as unto the Lord.” The following are some specific strategies for serving your employer to the best of your ability, and in the process, becoming an invaluable employee:
1. Think of yourself as being self-employed, even if your paycheck comes from your employer! Realize that no one “owes” you a paycheck; you have to earn it by providing valuable service to your company and those it serves. Look for new opportunities to meet your employer’s needs!
2. Ask your employer, “What problems would you like to see solved within the next year?" After his mouth drops open (employers don't hear this question from employees often), he may give you some ideas about how you can become more valuable by utilizing your job position to work on problems he would like to see solved.
3. Ask your boss what criteria she uses to evaluate "success" in your job. (Often the answers will not be stated in your job description. In most companies, the rules for success are unwritten.) By asking this question, you can organize your time and energy to work on the tasks that are most important to your boss.
4. Ask yourself, "How can I make myself more useful here?" "What problems can I take initiative to solve?" Become a visionary person who is able to see opportunities to use your skills and experience to solve problems, develop new clients, save the company money, etc.
5. Volunteer for the tasks that others do not want. While your first response may be, “You’ve got to be kidding!”, realize that employers will value you more than those who do as little as possible to fulfill their job responsibilities.
6. Document what you do each day (or week), highlighting your accomplishments. Use this documentation for updating your resume, building your self-confidence and making a case for deserving any requested pay raises or promotions.
7. Meet with your employer on a quarterly basis (and weekly or bi-weekly in the first month of a new job) for a 15-minute feedback session. During the meeting ask your employer how you are doing, and if there are any ways you can improve your performance on the job. Then be silent and write down anything he tells you. If he tells you that you’re doing a great job, terrific! If, however, he suggests there is a problem in some aspect of your performance, avoid becoming defensive. Instead, ask him to describe specifically how you can improve. (Even if you feel your boss has an inaccurate picture of your performance, still listen carefully. Somehow he has developed the wrong impression of what you are doing, and you must understand his perspective before you can give him information he may be missing in order to correct his perception.) Seek to come to agreement as to what, specifically, you will do differently. Then do it!
8. Find out what salaries other companies are paying for your job position. Conducting a labor market survey is the way to gather the most accurate information for your geographic area. Contact five to ten people (in different organizations) who do the type of work you do. Tell them you are doing a survey of salary ranges for ____________ (paralegals, for example), and ask them for the approximate salary range for paralegals in their firms. Tell them you are contacting several companies, and will be glad to send them a copy of your findings. (Assure them that the information they give will be kept confidential, and that no individuals or companies will be named in the information that you write up.) You can also research salaries via the Internet or the Employment Development Department, but the information may not be as accurate for your city or area as the results from a labor market survey. Once you have completed your research, you can see how your salary compares to your survey results. This will help you to evaluate the equity of your salary, and the information can be used to justify a request for a pay raise.
Job security may be a thing of the past, but you can develop “employment security.” One key aspect of employment security is making yourself invaluable to your employer. Companies will seek to keep employees who work hard, who exceed their job description and who invest themselves in making the company succeed. Take the initiative to be the kind of employee that you would want to hire!
Kevin & Kay Marie Brennfleck, National Certified Career Counselors, are the directors of the Christian Career Center and Church Jobs Online. (Through these sites you can search hundreds of current job listings from churches, ministries and Christian employers, post your free or featured resume and obtain career counseling and testing to discover work that fits your God-given design.)