14 Secrets to Collecting a Bigger Paycheck

by Salary.com Staff - Original publish date: December 8, 2011

Earning a promotion is one way to move up the career ladder -- but it's not the only way.

Even if an upward move is not in your near future, there are steps you can take to increase your earnings.

This article explores 14 ways that can help you collect a bigger paycheck.

Increase your education

Earning a certificate, an advanced degree, or taking classes in your field can translate into higher earnings.

Check out classes and programs at your local colleges and universities, as well as online distance-learning programs that allow you to earn while you learn.

Also be sure to check out Salary.com's Education Wizard here.

Keep up with technology

Isaac Asimov once said, “The only constant is change.”

Keeping up with the changing technology in your industry or field will add up to more earning power.

Go with the flow

If you get wind of workplace changes, schedule a meeting with your supervisor to discuss how you can help facilitate changes, as well as how you can contribute to the new structure.

More opportunity typically goes hand-in-hand with more money.

Ask for more work

Consider using your present position to build more skills, experience, and knowledge. Stretch and challenge yourself.

Not only will you be ready for what's next, you'll be viewed as a hard worker.


Chosen carefully, volunteer work looks terrific on a resume, and can boost earnings potential.

Choose volunteer work that uses skills knowledge necessary in your field.


Sometimes it's not what you know, it's who you know.

Get to know the colleagues in your organization, as well as in your industry in general.

In addition to helping you gain contacts, these folks often have invaluable insider advice.

Join career organizations

These organizations will help you stay in touch with what's happening in your industry, can introduce you to others in your field, and frequently offer educational opportunities not available elsewhere.

Update your resume

In addition to making sure your resume reflects your most recent accomplishments and experiences, make sure it is appropriately formatted.

In today's world, many organizations file resumes by keyword, so be sure to arrange your resume by skill.

Keep a finger on the pulse of your industry

Know what's happening so you can make sure that your skills, experience, and education are properly aligned

In addition to paying attention to the here and now, look toward the future as well.

Become an expert

Having a skill or possessing knowledge that others don’t will increase your worth -- and your paycheck.

Differentiate yourself

What can you do to make yourself stand out from the other folks in your department or organization?

Choose something valuable to your situation. Perhaps it’s learning the newest technology, or earning a certification.

Think outside the cubicle

 Be sure to accomplish things outside of work. Your ability to excel at a sport or hobby is valued at work, and shows you have the mettle to succeed.

Share your expertise

Teach a class, or mentor someone. Sharing skills and knowledge shows leadership and competence, and also hones valuable people skills.

Do your homework

Don't just ask for more money. Demonstrate compelling reasons why you should get the raise. Know what a competitive salary is for someone with your education, skills and experience.

Control your earning potential... and your destiny

When all is said and done, remember that you are in control of your earnings potential. With some thoughtful action on your part, you'll collect a bigger paycheck now, and in the future.