In 2013, the average worker can expect a raise of 3 percent, according to human resources and consulting group Aon Hewitt. Top performers may be able to snag an additional 1 percent. Although this may seem like small potatoes, many businesses are struggling to give their employees that much. Every bit counts in a down economy, and there are ways you can position yourself for that higher-than-average pay raise at work. If you're curious about how to get started, read on.
1. Show up early every day
Don't just show up on time; show up early. Especially if you live in a city with traffic issues, always give yourself more than enough cushion to arrive on time. On the days you arrive early, get settled in and get your secondary tasks out of the way before it's time to get down to business.
2. Never complain
We all have negative opinions about some things, just keep yours to yourself. Neither your boss nor your co-workers want to hear about your problems. They want to hear only about your solutions. Present any constructive and proactive ideas to your boss in a professional manner, and you just might find yourself in an improved working environment and in a better position for a pay raise.
3. Create your own set of goals
Bosses love it when staff members come up with their own set of goals. It shows initiative, a desire to get ahead and the ability to think creatively. Write out your goals and ask your supervisor for a convenient time to discuss them. Maintain written documentation of all your accomplishments and use this information during your next review.
4. Consult with your supervisor
Don't wait until your next performance review to find out how others think you can improve. Ask your supervisor what you need to do in order to improve your performance today. This gesture shows initiative, a willingness to learn and eagerness to succeed -- all of which sure to impress any boss.
5. Always volunteer
If you find yourself with extra time on your hands, volunteer for additional projects. Sometimes, other departments simply need more bodies rather than any particular expertise, so don't be shy about exploring new terrain at the workplace. Keep an eye out for any upcoming projects and always put your name in the hat.
Of course, the last thing you want is to be perceived as a suck-up to your boss. Keep all your discussions with your boss professional and above-board and never gloat if you get any coveted opportunities. Let your actions speak for you. By positioning yourself for the highest possible pay raise, you can lessen the burden of your month-to-month finances and make it easier to attack long-term concerns, such as saving for retirement and college for the kids.
David Bakke is a contributor for Money Crashers Personal Finance, where he frequently writes about money management, careers and small business.
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