Ask the Career Coach: How Can I Increase My Salary?

Question: Hi, Cheryl, I can’t remember the last time we corresponded. To get you up to date, I’m now working for a division of (company name removed). I’m the supervisor of the regional marketing division. In many ways, it’s a perfect fit. The problem is I just can’t seem to live off the salary they pay me. I still have my biz on the side, but that doesn’t pay the bills; just adds to the stress! Is there ananswer to this??


Answer: There’s always an answer, my dear. Since you’re saying this job is a great fit for you I certainly don’t think the answer is to look for another job – especially given all you’ve been through career-wise in the last several years. Rather, the answer lies in cutting your expenses or finding ways to boost your income. Here are several ideas:


  • Compare your salary to comparable jobs throughout the area. Are you making about the same as others in similar jobs with similar backgrounds and skill levels? You will need to access online salary surveys, check with your network, and/or conduct your own salary survey to answer this question accurately.
  • If so, review your bills carefully to see what you can cut back. You may want to consider contacting a consumer credit service for assistance in negotiating better payment terms with credit accounts. Such a service can also set you up with a realistic budget.
  • If not, gather salary research and profile your accomplishments to date in your current position. Prepare all this data in an attractive way and present it to your supervisor with a salary increase request.
  • Seek additional sources of income to supplement your FT salary:

:: Teach online through an online university or offering a class of your own.
:: Sell your own manuscripts online via a service like
:: Take on a consulting project.
:: Look for freelance work.
:: Sell things to create extra cash (jewelry, furniture, art, etc.).

Suze Orman’s newest book is about women and money (in fact I think that’s the title) – I would strongly recommend reading something like that to make sure you are taking full advantage of the financial resources you already have.

Another thought would be to do some values/passions/gifts clarification work to see what other kind of career you can begin moving into down the line – if you think the ongoing salary issue indicates you may be in the wrong career field.

Hope these suggestions help. It was good to hear from you!


About Cheryl Lynch Simpson

Cheryl is a Career, Job Search & LinkedIn Coach and Master Resume Writer. She has helped clients in >35 industries on 6 continents and has earned 24 global resume writing nominations and awards.