Recession Career Guide: How to Move Up and On at Work | Reader's Digest

Recession Career Guide: How to Move Up and On at Work

Caring for your career is more important than ever. Whether you want to move up, make more money, or change everything, here's how to know what you're worth, who's worth knowing, and what's next.

By Hilary Sterne & Cathy Gandel from Reader's Digest | April 2009

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Managing Your Career

Compare Your Paycheck
You know what you make. But do you know what you could be making? Salaries are now pretty much an open secret, thanks to a few websites that post real numbers and other insider corporate information across industries and even within companies and departments. Whether you’re looking to negotiate a raise or just wondering what the guy in the next cubicle (or in the cubicle across town) pulls down, the information on these three sites can help reassure you or motivate you to make a change.

  • salary.com The mantra at this site? “Know what you’re worth,” says CMO Meredith Hanrahan. Ballpark data generated by the salary wizard tool (also available at sites like monster.com) pops up if you plug in your job title and zip code, and it’s free. For an average of $49, you’ll get a report that better pinpoints your worth by using more precise metrics. You’ll also find 150 articles on understanding pay and performance.
  • payscale.com For a quick snapshot of where you stand, complete the free survey at the sitewhich includes questions about job title, location, years of experience, and degreeand you’ll get a number, based on the more than eight million surveys on file. For $19.95, you can order a more customized report.
  • glassdoor.com This best-of-breed site lets you browse anonymous company reviews and employee ratings as well as real-time compensation data parsed by position and company, right down to bonus and commission numbers. The site works on a “give to get” model: Filling out an anonymous survey about your company and salary gets you free access to the other 150,000 reviews of 18,000 companies.

The mantra at this site? “Know what you’re worth,” says CMO Meredith Hanrahan. Ballpark data generated by the salary wizard tool (also available at sites like monster.com) pops up if you plug in your job title and zip code, and it’s free. For an average of $49, you’ll get a report that better pinpoints your worth by using more precise metrics. You’ll also find 150 articles on understanding pay and performance.

You know what you make. But do you know what you could be making? Salaries are now pretty much an open secret, thanks to a few websites that post real numbers and other insider corporate information across industries and even within companies and departments. Whether you’re looking to negotiate a raise or just wondering what the guy in the next cubicle (or in the cubicle across town) pulls down, the information on these three sites can help reassure you or motivate you to make a change.

From Comstock.comFrom Comstock.com
Network Now—Before You Need To
It isn’t what you know, it’s who you know. Social and professional networking sites like Facebook are the fastest-growing way to put that truism to work online. “The key for senior business folks is to build your network before you need it by helping others make connections and offering good ideas to your friends. It’s a ‘pay it forward’ approach to networking,” says Brian Hackett, founder of the Learning Forum, a network of 120 human-resources leaders from Fortune 500 firms, and a fan of LinkedIn and Plaxo. But at Facebook, LinkedIn, and Brightfuse, you can also burnish your profile (with recruiters and employers and search engine optimization in mind), post your résumé, research companies you’re interested inand even zero in on a job.

    • linkedin.com Join an alumni group, check the profile of the person you’ll be sitting next to on that panel next week, or ask a question on the help board and you could be sowing the seeds that will grow into your next referral. There’s also a job search feature and tons of useful information about specific companies here, though the introduction tool is kind of clumsy.
    • plaxo.com This site began as a way to sync your contacts and keep them up-to-date but has since added Pulse, a networking feature that’s aimed mostly at social users, who can easily share feeds from sites like YouTube and Flickr. While it’s not a must, it’s another tool in the arsenal for a job seeker. Says Debra Yergen, author of Creating Job Security, “I like that it sends me a weekly update of who is connecting to whom.”
    • Careerbuilder.com’s brightfuse.com is more or less throwing a party online, but when we tried to mingle with members based on our profile, only two rather random profiles came up. Nevertheless, having a built-in job bank and all the other resources of a mega-site like CareerBuilder isn’t all bad. Stay tuned.
    • ning.com If you want to link up with people who share your interestssnapshots of your vintage motorcycle collection, maybe?ning’s the thing, allowing you to form your own social network. Creating an alumni group or a support group for fellow job seekers is another targeted way to exchange relevant information and increase your chances of landing the gig of your dreams through networking.
    • facebook.com More than 100 companies, including Microsoft and J.P. Morgan, recruit candidates on Facebook. Plus, you can post a résumé, create an electronic business card, and import your LinkedIn résumé and recommendations, then choose how to network with the 150 million members. Just be sure to delete those photos of you wearing the grass skirt and the coconut bra at the Sigma Chi pledge party.