The median salary for recent college graduates hovers just around $48,000. With the cost of living continuously on the rise, maintaining a healthy financial lifestyle is becoming more and more difficult. When you take into account the cost of living, moving expenses, and fixed expenses such as food, gas, and insurance, the $48,000 might be enough for you to get by, but certainly not live lavishly. While older generations constantly harp on the idea that hard work is the key to success, it is becoming more apparent that this is not the only component that matters. Instead, mastering the art of strategic planning, acing interviews, establishing firm principles, and sharpening your communication skills all play a part in you climbing your way to a six-figure salary.
You do not have to succumb to the narrative of struggling your first couple of years out of college.
In fact, by following the correct steps, you can rise to a higher economic tax bracket in a matter of two years, three at the most.
It’s all about knowing the framework. The framework consists of the following courses of action:
Leverage your connections and/or build a high-quality resume
Get the Job
Obtain your first job. Do this by acing your interview. Remember, you have valuable talents that can add to any professional space. With your resume in hand your best business professional attire, walk into your interview with confidence and land your job with ease.
Let Your Intentions Be Known
Immediately once you obtain your job, talk to your manager. Communicate with them that you are interested in promotion as soon as possible and probe to create a plan to reach this goal. Bold move? Yes, that’s exactly what this is. This will differentiate you. Out of everyone who gets a similar position as you, you might be the one person that lays your cards on the table. Following this, do more than expected and expect to be noticed.
Rise in the Ranks
Earn a promotion at that job as soon as possible. This process is about assuming as much responsibility as fast as possible. Money follows responsibility and energy. Be high energy, get a lot done, and always be willing to assume a larger workload.
Leverage Your Status
Following your promotion, leverage your status (new title, ie manager, team lead etc) to upgrade to the next top-tier position, which can be determined by an increase in pay or a better workplace environment. The thing is you don’t have to be at a job for years to see organic growth within a company for you to one day get promoted. It’s possible to leverage current income and position to make an upgraded jump within your industry to a higher position at another company. Besides, just because your company says they want to promote you in X time… doesn’t mean they have the capacity to. If you run into a larger opportunity, thoroughly consider it.
Keep Going Until You Reach the Finish Line
Continue to rise in the ranks until you reach your dream position
If you’re at six figures at this point there’s still a chance you may not feel the company is where you’ll stay long term. That’s okay. At this point a horizontal jump can be made from a company A that pays six figures to company B who also pays six figures (even a little over or under) but is more culture to fit for you. It’s not only about money, but to say money isn’t a major factor is ludacris.
The steps are simple. But, the work is not. To successfully follow this professional rubric for success, you will have to stand out amongst your peers. It takes grit, determination, and consistency to prove yourself as an above-average employee. But, when you do, the rewards are endless. You will be able to earn more than you ever thought possible, travel, and invest in alternative opportunities that add fulfillment to your life. To help you on your journey to becoming a post-graduate success story, here are some things to keep in mind:
The first step to making six-figures is to figure out how you are going to earn income. Typically that means you have to get a job. Regardless of what industry you find yourself in, networking has shown to be a great way to acquire a job. One of the most important components of having a healthy professional life is building relationships. Through networking, you can establish connections in the form of mentors, friends, and business colleagues in all different fields. These individuals are the ones that help you get where you need to go career-wise. Keep in mind that even if they do not have the authority to hire you, nine times out of ten, they know someone who does. Therefore, before you even get your first job, make it a point to strategically place yourself at seminars and conferences that will put you in contact with people that have results you want to replicate. It’s advisable to have weekly, biweekly, quarterly or annually “touching base” conversations with as many of these individuals as possible extending the message that you’re always “agile to upgrades and open to new opportunities” This will have a ripple effect because eventually one of these people will Tun into someone who needs to hire a new A player and you’ll be the first who comes to mind. Also, before even interviewing for a position, ask yourself:
Do I see myself working for this company for an extended period of time?
What does my future look like in five years at this firm?
How can I master the art of obtaining promotions?
What rank do I ultimately want to reach? Is there is someone I can talk to that is already in that position?
Answering these questions helps establish a healthy foundation for your professional goals that will help dictate your actions throughout your time in whatever profession.
Before you get your desired job, you have to ace your interview. Think of interviews as a high-stake date. This is your time to impress your interviewer with your skills, intellect, and overall demeanor. Below are some tips you can use to make you a “must-have” hire:
Prepare — have questions about the company
Dress extra professionally and pay extra attention to your hygiene
Be confident in your demeanor. Direct eye contact and strong posture coneys to your interviewer that you are sure of yourself.
Have a servant mindset. Throughout the interview, ask yourself, “How can I service to this company?”
Keep in mind that this is just as much an interview process for you as it is for them.
Have a clean and simple resume. Find a strong format online and keep it directed to the job you are applying for. If you are applying for a position in a specific field, only include experiences that relate to that area.
After being offered a position, it is essential to establish principles that you will stick throughout your time at the firm. Principles such as hard work, honesty, reliability, communication, and consistency never go out of style. In fact, in our fast-paced generation, these qualities are rare amongst employees. Do yourself a favor, and don’t be like everyone else. Holding yourself to the highest standards demonstrates to your peers, managers, and corporate execs that you are serious about your future. People notice when others are going above and beyond. On that note, setting yourself up as a valuable employee makes you an asset. As you become more valuable to the company, management will become mildly indebted to you. This attention can eventually help you build up the support to leverage a promotion in the future. Subsequently, earning a promotion will be the springboard you use to jump companies before having to spend years on the role. The title, salary, and reputation you earn from excelling in each role are important in that they each help you craft a path to success.
A specific principle to hone in on is communication. In the workplace, communication is vital. This means from day one; you should make it a point to relay your intentions to your peers and boss. If you want to get a promotion in the next few months, let it be known. If you want to have a corner office, tell your boss. If you even want to be noticed as the employee of the month one year, express that to those around you. Note that communication is not always verbal. How you conduct yourself at meetings, the timeliness of your work, and the dedication you offer to your company, all serve as ways to communicate your goals. Be confident and thorough. It is one thing to communicate your goals verbally, and it is another thing to communicate your desires through your actions. If you are hesitant to share your professional aspirations with your boss, don’t be. No one has ever reached their goals by not expressing themselves. Take the risk, let your intentions be known, and watch as they come into fruition.
Earning a college degree is no easy feat. Therefore, you should aim to maximize your earning potential by being an employee that contributes value to whatever space you’re in. By being strategic, you can place yourself in a position to earn more than you’ve ever made and support a lifestyle filled with joy, security, and a bit of luxury.