Valuing Yourself & Being Paid

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In this economic climate businesses have available to them a gluttony of well-qualified if not over qualified candidates. Because of this companies can and are not paying people what they are worth, asking people to work well below their financial threshold or are encouraging unpaid internships. There are ways to move beyond this. What is important is to position youself in a way that will make a difference and add value. Don’t allow others to set your worth, do it for yourself.

The first step is to set in your minds eye a definite plan of action and goal for your career and integrate into that plan a specific amount of money that your skills and talents are worth. You have to begin first valuing yourself and your professional plan before anyone else will.

The next step is a reality check to see what the market is paying in your region and around the world. Identify how you compare to others with your similar background and skills. Begin to do research and network with others who are doing what you do and who are hiring people like you. The more timely information that you have the easier it is to negotiate and speak your value to others.

One very important step is to gain or highlight your specific skills in the area you are applying for. What works very well is developing an on line portfolio of your work as well as hard copy samples. This is a tremendous way to keep yourself focused and on target as to what you are accomplishing. It also facilitates you in speaking the specific results and value you have provided.

If you don’t have specific experience in the industry you are aiming for then it’s crucial to align with an internship or apprentice program to gain those precise skills. If you ever choose to do something for free or low pay then it’s imperative that you have an exit strategy and a game plan for why you are doing it. When I wanted to learn how to do special event coordination I coordinated two very specific, high profile events that included a budget, a detailed system, a team of people to help me and a time line. By doing this I positioned myself to learn a specific skill and then I leveraged that to gain a paid position doing the same thing. I did all of this in less than 4 months. You can as well.

I also recommend that it’s easier to negotiate and ask for what you want when you don’t need it. So find a way to gain income and a reserve of cash flow so that you aren’t dependant on the companies you apply to. Find additional revenue streams, become an expert and share your information on the Internet, start a direct sales company, reduce your expenses, become creative with money, etc. When you don’t need a job you can more easily attract one.

And finally the last thing you may need to do is set a boundary about what you are able and not able to do. Saying no can be one of the most empowering words in the dictionary if done correctly. When you say no about a no pay or free then say NO with power and detachment. By doing from a place of power and professionalism you leave the door open for that company or another one to approach you with something that would be an even better fit. Don’t sell yourself short. Others will respond and react to you as you position yourself. Be your own best champion and allow your professional career to reflect what you value and your worth.