The Best Way to Bounce Back After Accepting a Crummy Salary

By Chelsea Babin

Negotiating your salary not only affects your current compensation, but all of your future compensation. However, if you somehow found yourself stuck with a crummy salary, there are a few ways you can bounce back. Use these 6 tips to climb out of the crummy salary hole and earn more competitive compensation.

1. Know Your Worth: While you may not be content with the salary you’ve accepted, it’s important to know whether or not it’s truly a reflection of what you’re worth. This can be a difficult figure to evaluate and online tools like Glassdoor often set up unrealistic expectations for your expected levels of compensation. The best way to evaluate if you’re being paid fairly or if you’re being underpaid is to look at similar job openings at similar companies for someone with your skills and experience. If the salary range is listed, compile a list so you can find the average and see where your current salary fits in. If it truly is on the lower end, there’s a lot you can do to increase it in the future.

2. Sharpen Your Skills: One of the best ways to bounce back after accepting a crummy salary is by improving your worth through skill building. Sharpen your existing technical skills, work on side projects, learn new and cutting-edge technologies, and develop your soft skills to improve your worth and set yourself up for a higher salary in the near future.

3. Assess Growth Potential: Some companies have easy, clear paths for growth within the organization and others have only dead ends. In order to climb out of the crummy salary hole you’re in, it’s important to assess the growth potential at your current company and position yourself as a front-runner for growth. As you grow through the company, your salary is sure to rise.

4. Deliver Exceptional Work: The best way to prove you’re worth more than the crummy salary you accepted is to deliver exceptional work consistently. This is the fastest path to earning a higher salary if you’re working for a company who acknowledges and rewards hard work.

5. Present Results to Your Boss: Whether it’s time for your annual review or you pull your boss aside after six months to a year of working at the company, you’ll need to be able to present the exceptional results you’ve delivered in order to get a higher salary. If you present these results to your boss and they don’t budge on your salary, move on quickly to the next step.

6. Consider Your Options: At the end of the day, if you’re delivering exceptional work and improving your skills but the additional compensation never comes it’s time to consider your options. Contact a great recruiter, peruse open jobs, and make a plan to move on to bigger and better things.

Accepting a crummy salary can affect your compensation for the rest of your life. It’s important that you fight back, bounce back, and take the steps to improve your salary early on. Follow these 6 steps if you want to improve your salary and lifetime compensation.