How to Get a Raise in Today’s Economy: Start with a “Me File”

In my coaching practice, I recommend my clients start a “me file” when they land a new gig.

Part of this recommendation comes from the fact that when we work together on the “get a new gig” process, they’re wracking their brains to come up with quantifiable achievements we can use on their career docs, like resumes, and on job interviews.

A Me File is something you can use throughout your career, not just when looking for a job, but to maintain the one you have AND move up the career ladder.

First, decide how you want to track your information (creating the Me File). I recommend storing the information in something you can take home with you nightly. This is your personal information. Should you want to discuss a raise or explore a new career, you’ll want to have all of your information in one place, so you can take it with you and not have to rush around at the last minute and try to find it. Or worse yet, be escorted out the door, with no documentation at all.

My clients have used the following to store their Me Files: notebook on hand to document projects as they go; iPhone, entering items as they arise; folder or large envelope to store print versions; spreadsheet; Word file. 

I recommend printing hard copies of kudos from clients and your management team, this ensures you have a copy and can find it, should you leave. And it’s nice to have hard copies for a performance review as well. 

Use a tracking method that works for you. Again, this is your personal info, hence my recommendation to take it home with you nightly.

What to track for your Me File: This will vary, depending upon the level and type of position you hold. A good rule of thumb is to follow this staffing CEO’s recommendation to job seekers (and this holds true for career maintenance, lobbying for a raise, etc.):

“Put a BENEFIT STATEMENT into your resume – something that speaks of how you 1) made the company money, 2) saved the company money or 3) streamlined procedures. Years of experience is immaterial and may indicate that you are just ‘old.’ Companies want to know what kind of contribution you can make to their success – not how many years you’ve been working.”

While the statement is a bit harsh, it is true. Your Me File will help you communicate your value to your colleagues, coworkers, and managers as well as future employers, networking connections, etc. Learning to communicate your value also helps you realize your value and increase your confidence. Suze Orman, financial guru, said, “When you undervalue what you do, the world will undervalue who you are.” Strong words.

Let your Me File help you realize all that you bring to the table. Here’s what to track (again, this varies based on your title, level, etc.):

1. Your sales – what were they last year, what are they now (or projected to be)?
2. New clients you’ve brought in – how many? Name names AND how much money they’ve brought to the firm (including how much they are projected to bring in).
3. Sales increases over time (example: grew sales from zero to $300,000 in first year)
4. Marketing ideas, those implemented, and the RESULTS quantified (example: initiated social media program netting 15,000 unique visitors to website in first week)
5. Compliments from your boss
6. Kudos from your clients
7. Productivity enhancements (saving your company money by streamlining procedures)
8. Cost cuts (negotiated discounts with key vendors, etc.)
9. PR you landed for the company – and name it (example: featured in Milwaukee Magazine’s “Best Of” issue) – and, if you can, the sales or leads resulting from it. Provide the numbers.
10. Ideas you have, which are implemented, and either: bring in money, save money or increase productivity in some way. Document the results after implementation or projected results, if your idea has not yet been implemented.

Use the Challenge, Action, Result formula to document your projects for the Me File. Here’s a sample:

Challenge: Company needs new business
Action you took: Created social media action plan, and set up 20 networking meetings per week
RESULT (always the MOST IMPORTANT): Generated 20 new clients in first three months totaling X in annual revenue.

This is a start. As one client told me, he wants to start his new gig off right. Begin tracking your awesomeness now! Even if you’re in mid-career or a long-term employment situation, start now! This can help you snag your next raise.

Check out my client Linda’s story on my home page:

And please, do share your results! Wishing you HUGE SUCCESS.

PS: Want more tips to get paid what you’re worth? Here’s a link to Get Paid What You’re Worth  and there are even more tips in my newsroom. Enjoy!

© 2011 | Wendy Terwelp | All rights reserved.

Personal Branding: Myth, Madness, What?

Recently, a member of one of my LinkedIn groups asked, “I hear the term branding a lot, but rarely if ever see examples of it! Is it merely a catch phrase, or it is a real, effective strategy?”

Let’s bottom line it, shall we?

I was a recruiter prior to becoming a career coach. And I have a solid network of recruiters and employers across the country. Here’s the common thread, candidates who fit the culture of the company stick. Those who don’t, don’t. Recruiters to this day still tell me if a candiate doesn’t make the cut, 90% of the time, it’s because they were not a “right fit.”

Here are some real examples of personal branding from a few of my clients:

1. One of my clients, a sales representative, was known as “The Cold Call King.” He provided me with documentation of the same. We used it in his cover letter AND provided backup in terms of results (i.e. why he was deemed “The Cold Call King” by his company president).

2. Another client, a PR pro, was dubbed a “PR Martyr” by her coworkers. Yes, we used it, and again provided the backup.

3. And an industrial engineer client of mine shared his philosophy of design with me, which we used on his resume and his cover letter. Plus, I used a logo he designed on these docs as well – proof of performance. He also had a website, online ID, etc.

All three communicated their brands while networking, on the interview, and throughout their job search campaigns.

Bottom line is this – each of these clients was hired faster; each held positions long term; each got paid more than was expected.

Does personal branding work? The answer is a hearty YES!

When does it become a catch-phrase? When it’s merely talked about and NOT implemented.

When applied, can’t deny, it works.

Want to know where your brand stands? Take the quiz:

 Note: Artwork provided by SnapHappy Creative LLC

© 2011 | Wendy Terwelp | All rights reserved.