7 Steps To Getting Paid More And Promoted Faster

There are methods and techniques used by the highest-paid and most successful people in our society to get paid more money for what they do and get promoted faster to higher levels of authority and responsibility.

When you begin to use them yourself, you put your entire life and career onto the fast track. You will make more progress in the next couple of years than the average person makes in 10 or 20 years. Here are 7 ways to get started: 

1. Find a High-Growth Industry

You can make more progress toward getting paid more and getting promoted faster in a couple of years in a high-growth industry than you might in five or 10 years in a slow-growth industry. 

Once you have identified a high-growth industry, do your homework. Research and find out what companies in that industry are growing the most rapidly. Remember, 20 percent of the companies in any industry make 80 percent of the profits. They have better leadership, better products and services, better technology, and a better future. These are the companies where you want to work.

2. Select the Right Boss

Choosing the right boss is one of the most important decisions that you ever make. It can accelerate your career and enable you get paid more and promoted faster than almost anything else you do.

You should look upon accepting a job as if you were entering into a marriage, with your boss as your spouse. He or she is going to have an enormous impact on how much you get paid, how much you enjoy your work, how rapidly you get promoted, and every other part of your work life.

When you are looking for a job, you should interview your potential boss carefully to make sure that he or she is the kind of person you would enjoy working with and for. This should be someone whom you would respect and look up to, someone who is friendly and supportive and on whom you can depend to help you move ahead as rapidly as possible. Whenever possible, you should talk to other people who work for that boss. 

3. Develop a Positive Attitude

Fully 85 percent of your success in work, no matter how intelligent or skilled you are, is going to be determined by your attitude and your personality. Your overall success, how much you are paid, and how fast you are promoted will be largely determined by how much people like you and want to help you.

Research shows that a positive, cheerful person is more likely to be paid more and promoted faster. This kind of person is more readily noticed by superiors who can accelerate his or her career. In addition, a positive person is supported by his or her coworkers and staff. There seems to be an upward pressure from his or her peers that drives a positive person forward at a faster rate.

The critical determinant of a positive attitude is how well you function under stress. Anyone can be positive when things are going well. But it is when you face difficulties and setbacks that you demonstrate to yourself and to everyone else what you are really made of. You’ve heard it said that “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” A person with a positive attitude looks for the good in every person and every situation. He or she looks for something positive or humorous. The positive person tends to be constructive rather than destructive. And the good news is that a positive attitude is something that you can learn by practicing it, every single day, especially when it is most needed.

4. Create a Positive Image

It is absolutely amazing how many people are held back, year after year, because no one has ever taken them aside and told them how important their external appearance is to getting paid what they are truly worth.

The first rule is that you should always dress for success in your job and in your company. Look at the top people in your industry. Look at the top people in your company. Look at the pictures in newspapers and magazines of the men and women who are being promoted to positions of higher responsibility and pay. Pattern yourself after the leaders, not the followers.

5. Start Earlier, Work Harder, and Stay Later

Develop a workaholic mentality. There is nothing that will bring you to the attention of the important people in your work life faster than for you to get a reputation as a hard, hard worker.

Everybody knows who the hard workers are in every business. The hardest workers are always the most respected in any company of value. They are always paid more and promoted faster for a very simple reason: They are more productive. They get more work done in a shorter period of time. They are more valuable to the company. They set a better example, and are the kind of people bosses are proud of and want to keep more than anyone else.

The rule is that two extra hours of work each day are all you really need to invest to become one of the most successful people of your generation. You can get these extra two hours by coming in an hour earlier and staying an hour later. In most cases, this will expand your day slightly but it will expand your career tremendously. 

The top people in every field work more hours than the average people. In fact, the top 10 percent of money-earners in the United States work 50 to 60 hours per week. In addition, remember that they work all the time they work. They do not waste time. When they arrive at work early, they immediately start in on important tasks. 

This must be your goal as well. Work all the time you work. Do not play on the computer all day, make personal phone calls, read the newspaper, or chat about the latest football game or television program. The average person today works at less than 50 percent of capacity. Only about 5 percent of people in the world of work today actually work the whole time. Everyone else is functioning somewhere below their potential, in many cases far, far below.

6. Push to the Front

One of the most important ways to come out ahead is for you to continually ask for more responsibility. Volunteer for every assignment. Go to your boss at least once every week and ask him or her for more responsibility.

Most people in the world of work do only what is asked of them. But this is not for you. Your job is to keep asking for more, and, whenever you are given a new responsibility, to fulfill it quickly and well. Remember: You want to develop a reputation for being the kind of person who is given the responsibility whenever someone wants to get something done quickly.

Do you want a promotion? Getting one is very much under your control. The fact is that you promote yourself every time you take on a new responsibility. You will eventually rise to the level of the responsibility you are willing to accept. There are no limits. And there are fewer things more important in helping you get paid what you’re really worth than for you to develop a reputation for speed and dependability. Be the kind of person your boss can count on to get the job done fast. Whatever it takes, treat every assignment you receive as if it were a test upon which your future career depended.

A young man in a large company told me this story: One year he volunteered to head up the United Way campaign in his company. All of the other managers had avoided this responsibility because it was so time-consuming.

But the young man saw it as an opportunity to perform for senior people in the company. He leaped at the responsibility, and did an outstanding job of getting everyone in the company to contribute to making the campaign a success. In the course of running the campaign, the young man was able to meet with almost every senior manager in the company, getting a chance to talk to them and become known by them.

As a result of the success of the campaign, the president of the company was given a special award and was written up in the newspapers as one of the top executives in the community. Within six months after the campaign ended, this young man had been promoted twice. A year later, his former manager, who had avoided the United Way responsibility, was working for my friend.

7. Ask for What You Want

This is one of the most important success principles you will ever learn to help put your career onto the fast track: The future belongs to the askers. The future does not belong to those people who sit back, wishing and hoping that their lives and their work will become better. The future belongs to those people who step up and ask for what they want. If they don’t get it, they ask again and again until they do.

Ask your boss what you have to do to qualify for an increase. There is no point in your working hard if you don’t know exactly what it is that you have to do to get paid more and promoted faster. Clarity is essential. Go to your boss and ask, and ask again if you are still not clear.

If you want an increase, you must ask for it. And the way you ask is by building a case, as a lawyer would build a case, for your getting the amount that you want to receive. Instead of saying that you need more money, as most people do, you have a different strategy. You put together a list of the jobs that you are now doing and the additional experience and skills you have developed. Show the financial impact of your work on the overall operations of the company and the contribution that you are making as a top employee.

Present this information to your boss, in writing, and tell him or her that, based on all of this, you would like an increase of a specific amount of money per month and per year. In many cases, you will get the increase simply by asking for it in an intelligent way. In some cases you will get less than you requested. If this happens, ask what you will have to do to get the rest of the increase that you asked for.

If your request for an increase is turned down, ask exactly what you will have to do to get the increase you requested at a later time and exactly when that increase will be payable. Be specific. Be clear.

And don’t be afraid to ask.

--This article is adapted from Brian Tracy's Earn What You're Really Worth, Copyright 2012; reprinted with permission from Vanguard Press. 


For more leadership coverage, follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

[Image: Flickr user Woodley Wonder Works]

Add New Comment


  • Harry Larson

    My Name is Jeremy Marshall, a Stock Broker in One of the Biggest Bureau-De-Change in America. I have been working for my company for the past seven years (7yrs) with no PROMOTIONS inspite of my qualifications and experience. I was living from hand to mouth, couldn't meet up with bills and was always hiding from my Landlady cause of rents. All this were laid to rest when I met Prophet Jumama who told me I had spiritual problems hindering my financial status. We did all the required processes and today; am a Branch Manager of my company. The interesting thing is, that I paid little or nothing for His services. He only told me to spread the news of his good deeds. With prophet jumama nothing is impossible. Contact him today with that Spiritual battle, Marriage problems, financial instability, Child support battle, Educational problem...etc. at prophetjumamaspirituality@gmail.com. Take a leap of faith today.

  • Maxime Manuel

    This is a good article. In high-trust cultures, they will apply for starters. These attitudes are good to a jump start. Some points here must be cultivated. However, when you reach some levels, a few points here will not apply. In countries with low-trust culture there is a high degree of favoritism. Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to apply anything here to your career. You can be the most skillful employee but they will keep you underpaid while others are getting promoted. In conclusion, we all need to work with our heart and head, love our job and think about our future. We need to grow professionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually, live our lives, offer the best to our family and live with ease. But like I read it from Steven Covey, "No one at their deathbed wished they spent more time at the office". So true. And for that man who suggested a voodoo priest... you are hilarious. You need to believe in God, positivity and achievement. I am from Haiti.

  • James

    "The rule is that two extra hours of work each day are all you really need to invest to become one of the most successful people of your generation."
    Unless "one of the most successful people of your generation" is defined very, very broadly, this statement is absurd.

  • Andrew

    Number 7 seems to be my biggest problem. I'm really motivated in general, but I get scared of accidentally being too pushy to my boss. Reading Promotion Coach helped me as well. 

  • Guest

    Respectfully, the person who wrote this article appears to be a theorist without probably working a day in his life. Number 5 is a recipe for disaster. We are not all so underworked that we can "chose" and beg for new assignments. Doing so in this economy will make you a dumping boy, and since you're relieving others with a smile on your face (Number 3 and Number 4), why promote you and redistribute your undesirable load. The best way to be promoted is to be shrewd. Stay in a position for a few years, update your resume, and then sell your new skills and assets to other companies. If your current company can't let you go on a cost basis, they will have to pay either way.

  • Job Ibex

    Point #7: As for what you want is the most crucial one in the list.  Some employees would work hard and follow each trick in the book but eventually fail to ask for what they want "clearly and in a positive way".  A lot of people would nag about being overworked and underpaid or bypassed for promotion in a way that makes their superiors identify them as having a negative attitude.

    Jobs Around the Globe

  • Ben

    I totally agree on point 5. Unfortunately a lot of people will tell you that being a workaholic is nothing positive. However, if you make the proper separation of a workaholic who loves his job and what he is doing and a workaholic who hates his work and is just in for the money, then you will understand that there is nothing bad being a workaholic.

  • Eddieon

    i worked for my company for 4year and i did not get a promotion and a friend of mine who was also once a victim introduced me to a spell caster and the spell caster did it spiritual thing and the next day i was promoted to supervisor and i tell the doc i do not like that and he promote me to the manager i was so suprised and greatful for he has done a nice working helping me. contact this man on africa_voodoo@yahoo.com he is the only help to promote you fast in your working place

  • Maxime Manuel

    This is develosh my friend. And voodoo is not doing anything to for you but only your positivity can. I am from the voodoo country, Haiti. Trust me on that one.

  • Heesoo Kim

    I somehow agree with Roberta actually it doesn't work many times , because you need the job and money you  must work with awful people (boss) , these days you are selected by companies of  course you can refuse this selection  but do not forget " No job , No money"

  • Roberta Matuson

    It's great in theory to try and pick your own boss, but what happens when the boss who hires you, resigns the day you arrive? That happened to me and I spent the next 14 months working for one of the worse bosses in America. I would have fared much better if I had managed my relationship with my boss, because that's truly how you get ahead.

    And the face time thing...don't even get me started!

    Roberta Matuson
    Author: Suddenly in Charge

  • Christian Luca

    I think it is important for anyone writing an article claiming the following in point 5 above: "The average person today works at less than 50 percent of capacity. Only
    about 5 percent of people in the world of work today actually work the
    whole time. Everyone else is functioning somewhere below their
    potential, in many cases far, far below" to reflect upon why that is the case.  My theory is that people are generally eating poorly and the foods they eat don't energize them in a healthy manner, and so at work, they will not give their best.  Has this been considered at all in writing this blog article?  What I can see from this article is a Machiavellian approach to a career, which doesn't consider why people are not giving it their all--nutrition and exercise is key in a healthy society?  Would working longer hours enable people to exercise comfortably before or after work?  I don't see how it can, unless one were to sleep significantly less than 7 or 8 hours a night or day, depending on what shift the worker has.  Generally, people don't want to work longer hours and that's understandable, as a lot of work has become quite repetitive in nature and people are starting to question the meaning of their work, which of course is a legitimate concern.  

  • Ben Simerly

    We are in a time when parenting quality in the U.S. is at an
    all-time low, creating progressively worse citizens and employees,  morbid
    obesity, and all coupled with a pathetic education system.  While we could
    talk about these affects all day, a key point here is that it is creating an
    inherent push to working longer hours as we have more and more people that are
    stupid enough to think this is a good idea, because they are either to lazy, or
    so poorly educated that they actually think it is a good solution to a

    While I realize that your point is that working longer hours
    can help you get ahead if you should choose to do so, I think of greats in any
    field, and wonder what would have happened if they would have taken the easiest
    solution in front of them, or worse suggested taking the easiest solution to
    others around them.  What if Mr. Porsche
    would have said “we will just make the engine block heavier to last longer,
    that's an easy solution.”?  What if Mr. Dyson would have just said “let’s
    use a smaller motor to save energy” ? (great Fast Company article on him recently
    by the way).  What if the light-bulb continued to be a heat production
    device?; easily promotable, reliable, and the boss wants to keep it
    around.  It’s that kind of slow and maligned thinking that drags this
    great nation and great Earth down a path of unspeakable cultures and
    practices.  We know better now...  

    The number one thing we have control over may be our
    attitude, but I argue that the number two is our ability to control what we do
    in a day, and how we do it.  That may
    sound like it is against the reality, but it is the reality that we generally
    pick what we do with our time.  We pick
    our careers, our partners, our continued use of certain norms and cultural
    practices.  Even in a jail cell, a person
    has the ability to spend his time writing and exercising, or sleeping

    Previously in many times in history for many nations, the
    prominent problems were much more basic; food, water, safety.  These are still the prominent problems in
    many parts of the world including many areas in the U.S.  Working long hours made sense, and in some
    areas still does.  We had to claw at the
    walls of life just to survive as a human race throughout history.  Our problems are much bigger and more
    substantial than thing like lighting or transportation.  Step back from the image even farther I
    say.  If you step back far enough, for
    the people in the world reading newspapers and Fast Company on this fine March
    morning, our major problem to solve for this generation is “how do we evolve
    how we work”, as what we do in the whole of our lives has changed so dramatically
    in the past century. 

    We must lead by a better work example.

    This nation, this world of remarkable people can do better
    than just “working two extra hours per day,” and we have in our past, and we
    will continue to do so for the sake of our future.  As we continue to evolve
    our cultures and work days, we have an obligation to think smarter about them
    as we progress generation through generation. 
    As Mr. Porsche evolved the sports car, we in this century must now
    evolve the lifestyle of the family.  We
    have earned the money and the education and the white picket fence, but as we
    work to help bring up the next generation of those in this country that are
    less fortunate than the ones currently reading Fast Company, those who will
    become the great thinkers in all the fields of work and study that come after
    us, we must push ever harder to progress how
    we do it.  The past has already done the other thing.  It is time for us to do our thing.  And the people
    who think smart, and work hard, will work harder at working smarter, not longer.  Those will be the people providing real
    impact to our great nation.  

    I will pick wisely what I do with my time. 

    Although, maybe I should thank you Brian Tracy, because I
    have a feeling I’ll be the one receiving that promotion over you…  No, never mind, I’ll be Earning that promotion with my team mates, you’ll just be sucking up
    and signing divorce papers, oh wait, I forgot, you won’t have time !


  • Johan Smith

    One of the most important ways to come out ahead is for you to continually ask for more responsibility. Volunteer for every assignment. Go to your boss at least once every week and ask him or her for more responsibility."

    This is a terrible idea and will mark you on as part-martyr/part-muppet and pretty soon you'll be overloaded with all of the terrible/impossible jobs that nobody else wants to do and you'll start to experience burn-out because you are busy fire-fighting. Moreover, you'll look such a crawler/push-over that you are practically inviting your boss to come and see you once a week to load more on. Terrible terrible advice. 

  • Anit Arora

    So many articles coming out on how to be a loyal worker/slave.  A lot of us want to save our jobs so that  we don't lose the ability of paying our bills.  This recession is going out to weed out so many traditional jobs and all these articles reflect the principles followed by traditional business to be more profitable.  I would disagree not only with point no# 5 but most of the points.  Not only this article but there are so many articles coming out and killing entrepreneurship and a chance to expand free enterprise.  Human resource personal can divert the thinking of demotivated employees to not to be an entrepreneur.  Enough!

  • Doug Brockway

    I couldn't agree more with Jack. Number 5 is an especially slippery slope, particularly in light of increased rates of stress and burnout and the plethora of wellness research (http://gmj.gallup.com/content/.... I believe that it can also serve to set up young workers on a dangerous path. Typically this group is ground the hardest. As a business coach, I have dealt with the aftermath of many a 30 year old 'high performer' who has been sucked dry. The problem is not that people shouldn't strategically put in 1-2 hours extra each day, its more that few companies and even fewer bosses have the desire or wherewithall to keep it to these. My observation has been that, for the most part, a company will continue to place increased expectation on any capable employee who asks for more...and there is always a bottomless pit of more.  I think the 'work harder' mantra of recommendation #5 needs careful implementation to not be seen as simply a vehicle that serves short term corporate interest only. 

  • jack hafeli

    If it's really the case that #5 is necessary, you will have already violated #2. Working hard does NOT mean starting early and staying late... these habits more likely mean that you are inefficient or incapable of achieving goals with a reasonable work/life balance. If your bosses equate this with being a good employee, they are clueless managers. Your objective should be to show that you care about outcomes, that you can make a difference. A good manager will value those traits much more than hours spent at your desk.