Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Can You Increase Your Income?

You may have an obsessive desire to increase your income. But at the same time, you may have apprehensions about how you will be able to fructify this aim. Especially, in the current situation when the remnants of the economic downturn are still ruling the roost, there are chances of your aim losing its steam. But whatever may be the situation, you can certainly increase your income. Kindly read on. 

When you increase your income, you will have more scope for enriching your life in the real sense. Not only that, there are a number of other allied benefits also. You can lead a quality lifestyle and will be able to manage emergency situations easily. So, use these practical tips for increasing your income.

1. Add value to your worth

Everyone has some amount of self-worth and so, by investing time, money and efforts in yourself, you can add value to it. This investment will certainly give unimaginably high returns. One of the ways to improve your self-worth is to keep learning. You can acquire new skills, learn to speak, write and read new languages or try uniquely new things that are on your favorite list.

Internet can be a great aid to learn things but unless you set aside dedicated time on a consistent basis for reading the materials related to the chosen field, you can never learn. Likewise, attending workshops, webinars or training sessions for keeping abreast of the latest information on the field will help you fast-track your learning. 

Learning does not stop with acquiring information. You must trigger your creativity for generating new ideas and perceptions so you will become a new personality. Stay away from your grinding time so you can introspect and retrospect for regaining your focus.

If you doubt how learning will increase your income, the fact is your new skills, in-depth knowledge and unique perceptions will open up very high levels of opportunities.

2. Never make momentary investments but make smart investments

Monetary investments should be aimed towards increasing your income and this is what experts call as smart investments. The first step to begin investing smartly is to start at a very young age. It does not matter if you have not begun investing till now. Make a beginning at least now. Another important point is your investments should be for the long haul. 

If your investment options are right and are aimed towards the long haul, your income will certainly increase. This does not mean you should not do investments for a period less than 4 or 5 years. Debt instruments can be an ideal choice for such short-term investments.

3. Monitor your career progression and invest your time and efforts with a long-term perspective

By monitoring your career progression, you can plan strategies for building it. This means you must use the SWOT concept for analyzing your traits both professionally and personally. Once you identify the opportunities that are in synergy with your strengths as well as weaknesses, you can plan your strategies purposefully and with a long-sighted vision. There may be short-term challenges but if you have back-up plans, you can surmount them and build on your strengths.

The results of such purposeful planning will be you will possess the right skills and capabilities and will be in the right place at the most appropriate moment which will ultimately improve your income phenomenally.

4. Come out of your comfort zone and invest wisely in risks that you can bear

Taking risks means you will be pushing yourself out of the comfort zone in which you are now living cozily. If you keep challenging yourself constantly and push limits beyond your daily monotony of mediocre performances, you can protect yourself from the vagaries of instability in the employment market. Never forget that the day when machines and devices will replace huge numbers of human workers in every field is not far off.  So, by building your capabilities, you can stabilize your situation even if such drastic changes take place. In the present, by stepping out of the bubble called the comfort zone, you can have a clear view of innumerable new possibilities.

5. Never ignore your health

By investing your time and efforts in your physical and mental health, you can fast-track your aim of increasing your income and transitioning to higher living standard. Your social interaction capabilities will also improve thanks to your improved mental and physical health. Of course, bills towards your healthcare will come down drastically also.

The basic steps for maintaining good health are eating home-cooked, nutritious foods, exercising regularly and maintaining the right work-life balance.

Never forget that the lifestyle you lead will impact your social life and when your social environment improves, it will influence your thinking in a big way. So, by increasing your income and leading a decent and healthy lifestyle, you can improve your life itself. At the same time, you will have a broad perspective and will become socially more responsible. Ultimately, you will be able to play your part in making this world a better place to live.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Negotiating A Better Salary Than What You Are Offered

If you are embarrassed to negotiate a higher salary than what your employer is offering, you should then remain contented with the offer. You should realize that most of the employers will not offer the best salaries to their new hires. You should therefore know the right ways to negotiate and get a higher salary than what is offered. 

Jim Hopkinson, a former associate director for Wired Magazine has come out with a compact book entitled "Salary Tutor: Learn the Salary Negotiation Secrets No One Ever Taught You" in which he gives the basic tips for negotiating salaries. The book contains a lot of first-person anecdotes because Hopkinson has been a "rolling stone" and has switched several jobs during his career. He is now a consultant who also writes blog posts. Let us have a look at some of the tips Hopkinson gives in his book.

1. Hopkinson advises that you should prepare a document called IRS that is an acronym for Industry Research of Salaries that contains the salary data or the salary range for the job or position that you intend to land in. Websites such as, and can be used for gathering these data. Of course, you can gather information from personal networking as well. If you are not confident of handling this, you can even seek the help of an expert for making this document. Of course, you should take into account your achievements, experience and the skills you have acquired for arriving at the salary range. You should carefully avoid taking into account general skills because employers will look only at specific skills.

2. Do not name the number first. Hopkinson says that you must allow the employer to spell out the offer. Even when you fill out your application, you should write "competitive" in the “previous salary” column. In the "desired salary" column, write “negotiable.” Even if employers say that applications without full details of salary history will be rejected, they do not really mean it.

3. While answering salary-related questions during your initial interview, you should let the HR manager know that you have done a you have done a good homework and gathered the details of the salary range that prevails in the industry. If you come out with the details of your research, the manager may be cautious while handling your case. But if she insists that she cannot move you to the next step of the hiring process without knowing your salary history, you can say that you are not supposed to share that information because you are bound by the employment contract of your current employer. You can further add that you will reveal the information when the hiring process reaches the stage of salary negotiation or when the employer names his number.

4. When the employer names his number, push it still higher. Repeat the higher figure in the suggested salary range so the employer hears it. You should then push it still further. You can also negotiate and get perks such as bonuses, title, regular salary reviews, vacation and other benefits so the overall package is better than what was offered to you originally.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Are You Popular In Your Workplace?

You may be wondering how some of your co-workers are highly popular and some are not. You may also wonder how you can become one among the former group because those who belong to this group may get better opportunities as well as more recognition. You may justifiably think that you can also get such opportunities if you make efforts and become popular in your workplace. But what are the steps you should take for achieving this aim?

Make an honest assessment of yourself

Spend some time and make an honest assessment of yourself. This is for finding if you are putting enough thought or making adequate efforts for developing a strong rapport with everyone in your company. If you develop a good relationship with those around you including the other members of your team, those in the other departments and even seniors, this will culminate into mutual liking, trust and mutual respect. So, those people will not hesitate to share information with you. If you develop the same type of relationship with the clients or customers of your company, they are more likely to place orders for the products you offer or the services you render. They may even do 'word-of-mouth' publicity for your company thus helping even in the brand-building efforts of the organization. 

If you do not focus on this aspect, it may pull you down in the organization at both professional and personal levels. The most important step you must take for developing your interpersonal skills is to stop being mean. It is a known fact that people do not like mean folks because they consider them as nasty. 

Secondly, understand that everyone deserves respect, regardless of their position in the organization. So, show respect in whatever dealings you have with others. If you are courteous to your co-workers, subordinates, service providers and customers or clients, they will start liking your welcoming demeanour. This also means that you will remain approachable as well as beckoning. According to experts, this type of behavior will never go out of fashion.

Know where your territory ends

Being friendly with everyone doesn't mean that you will intrude into their privacy or allow them to use all your space. There is nothing wrong in being assertive about this aspect. Know where your territory ends and make sure that others understand where your boundaries begin. This will help in having a durable and sustainable relationship.

Humour and its efficacy

If you are able to make others laugh, you can win their hearts. But refrain from being offensive or sadistic. You can build strong relations only with light-hearted humour that can tickle the funny bones of people.

Allow people to talk about themselves

There are a number of people who have the habit of always talking about themselves, their accomplishments and achievements, the problems they face and so on. The only way to develop a good rapport with these people is to allow them to talk. But you should be sincere in listening to them lest should you be found soon.

Pay attention when people talk

If you do not pay attention when people talk, you can never succeed in developing good relations with them. You may have noticed that good listeners are more liked than chatty individuals. 

Smile, smile, smile

Flash your smile at every opportunity. Some people may think that they do not look good when they smile or laugh. But experts are of the strong opinion that you should smile or laugh whatever your looks may be or however ugly you think you are. After all, smiling and laughing belong to the heart whereas beauty and appearance are only skin deep. Remember, no one will like to keep company with negative, sulking and whiny folks. On the other hand, if you smile or laugh, you will transform the whole ambiance because the mood is contagious. 

Be sincere while giving compliments

People like to be complimented but when you do so, you should be sincere because they may soon find out that you are faking. 

Find out the commonalities between you and others and work on them

There may be commonalities like beliefs, interests or hobbies between you and others. You should find them out and work on them to develop relations with them.

Never succumb to the temptation of gossip-mongering

Speaking behind people is a dangerous habit and it will soon turn even friends into foes. Apart from showing you in negative light, this habit will never take you towards your aim of establishing a strong connect with people.

Accept people as they are

Everyone has both positive and negative traits. Some people may have eccentricities also. In fact, everyone of us exhibit our eccentric side some time or the other. You should accept people as they are. Never force your habits, thoughts or ideas on to others. If you stop judging people with the parameters you have defined or set on your own, you will find it comfortable to connect with everyone. In turn, they will also feel comfortable in your presence.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Questions You Should Not Ask During An Informational Interview And Those You Should Ask

As a job-searching individual, you may be eyeing a particular company and if you are lucky to get acquainted with an important official in the HR department of the company, you may request for an informational interview with her. You should be very careful during this interview because if you handle this in the right manner, this may be a major breakthrough that may fulfill your desire of working for the company. This means you should ask the right questions and refrain from asking the wrong ones. Let us have a look.

According to Tara Goodfellow, a former instructor of career development, she, on more than one occasion, had to force herself from giving advice that was not solicited or sought. This leads us further into the way such informational interviews should be handled, what questions should be asked and what should be shunned.

Questions not to ask

1. May I know the career path you traveled?

According to experts, no question can be worse than this. In fact, you can find everything online and so, you are wasting not only your time but that of the official as well. 

You should instead ask nuanced questions and let the official know that you have done adequate research about the company. This will in turn convey that you are professional in your approach and are also interested in the company. 

You can also try wording the question differently to show that you are seeking advice for growing in the company. Such questions may inspire the official to help you with her suggestions. In general, people like helping and so, you must go to such informational interviews after doing a good research. A carefully and well-done research may help you converse much beyond the normal or the surface level.

2. What is the controversy or the scoop surrounding the company?

If you ask such probing questions as if you are an investigative journalist, you will be putting an abrupt end to the conversation instead of building a rapport with the official. It sets an awkward dynamic, say experts.

Instead, embrace an open-ended approach by asking questions like the challenges the company may be encountering in their field. Such open-ended questions will give a lot of scope for the other person to interpret them in their own way. When the official starts talking about such challenges, you may certainly have an opportunity to let her know that some of your skills will be useful for the company in overcoming those challenges. In short, the focus will be more on bringing to the table what you can offer to them.

3. How much remuneration do you get?

There is nothing wrong in being curious but you must not ask such blunt and point-blank questions. They are not only inappropriate but may be off-putting as well. In fact, the other person may think that you are invading her privacy. You can word the question differently and ask a general question that can get you the details of the going rates in their industry. You can also ask the general salary range of the company and impress upon the person that this detail may be useful as a benchmark for applying for such jobs.

4. Can we be Facebook friends?

If you are able to develop a fast rapport, nothing like that. But it doesn't in any way justify asking if you and the other person can be Facebook friends. The official may have developed a liking for you but she may not be ready to connect with you on a personal level. Further, she might have been a part of many such informational interviews and she cannot be a Facebook friend for everyone.

Of course, you can express your interest for staying in touch with the person by showing a genuine interest in her. Questions like how she became attracted to the company when she was searching for a job may inspire her to share her story more naturally. Never forget to send a "thank you" note within two days after the informational interview is over.

Questions you should ask

1. What is the culture of the company and which personality type may suit that culture?

Every office has its own culture and not everyone may be able to adapt to the culture of every company. Only if your personality suits the company culture, you can be successful there. So, don't stop with asking this question. Listen attentively and try to understand what the official says. This question may also help in creating a positive impression that you are exploring the ways to succeed in the ambiance of the company and also demonstrating your macro-level perspective about the factors or variables that may impact your growth and success in the company.

2. How is a typical day in the company?

Such informational interviews are informal and hence, the official may be freely expressing her honest thoughts. She may even tell the things that are not going well.

Since she will be freely sharing her thoughts, you will be able to envision yourself in the role you intend to play within the limitations of the ups and downs of a typical day in the company. This may help you in determining if if you can play on your strong points if you join the roll of the company.

3. Should I reach out to someone else?

If your desire to join the company has grown stronger after the informational interview, you should ask the official if you should reach out to someone else. By asking this question, you are accelerating the momentum of the process. The official may suggest some known people in the same company. If there are no vacant positions in the company, she may even suggest the names of people of some other company in the same field.

4. Will I be of any help to you?

This question will end the interview on a pleasant note because it will show to the official that you are willing to give back. You should be sincere while asking this question. This may blossom into a relationship that may be mutually beneficial. If you do not ask this question, you may not be able to send another contact to the official in the event of you determining that you are not the right fit for the position.