One Simple Step To A Promotion And Massive Raise

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I'm gonna have to beat the recruiters back with a stick!Everyone around you is getting promotions and big raises. Unfortunately, you just got news that you will be receiving the standard 2% raise and no promotion this year.

You’re bummed because you worked really hard this year. You even worked harder than some of your coworkers that got promotions, so what gives? Why didn’t you get the promotion?

One small detail might be holding you back.

Professional Designations and Certifications

These things are key in advancing your career in many fields. If you don’t have the professional designations or certifications, you’ll get passed over constantly by those that do. It doesn’t matter if you are the best employee in the world. Some companies simply won’t promote you or give you that fat raise you deserve unless you join the club and get the professional designations or certifications.

In my career field, that designation is actually a license. As an accountant, getting a Certified Public Accountant license is a huge key to unlocking the door to your career growth. If you don’t have a CPA license, you could easily be left in the dust.

When I worked in public accounting, you would never be promoted to the manager position and you would definitely never make partner if you didn’t have your CPA license. It’s a sad truth, but without it your career would hit a brick wall after just 5 years out of college, if not sooner.

Have You Figured Out The Simple Step Yet?

The step is to find out what professional designations, licenses or certifications your superiors have and get them yourself. If you’re not sure what licenses your superiors may have, you can try searching their name on License Direct and see if anything pops up. If that doesn’t work, chances are your superiors will have certificates hanging in their office or you’ll see the designations they have on their business cards.

Once you know what licenses your superiors have, find out how to get them and see if it is worth the time and cost involved to obtain the designation. For example, the CPA exam required 150 credit hours of college courses, a $2,000 study course and countless hours of studying. It didn’t result in a raise or promotion directly related to my new license, but I did get a small bonus that covered my costs. However, it paid off in bigger ways.

Certifications and Designations Provide Instant Credibility

While I didn’t get a raise from my then current job when I earned my CPA license, it gave me instant credibility when I was looking for a new job closer to home. Having my CPA license immediately opened doors for other accounting positions because people knew I was serious about my field of study.

Having my CPA license allowed me to get a big bump in my pay, too. A CPA license can be worth an pay increase of 10%. Of course, everyone will have different experiences based on their work history and current company.

Earning a license or professional designation might be a quick process or a long endeavor but most will pay off in the long run. Just do your research and see what designation you might need to get ahead in your career.

Do you have a professional license? Did it help you get ahead in  your career?

photo by: cote

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About Lance Cothern

Lance Cothern, a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) licensed in the Commonwealth of Virginia, is the founder of Money Manifesto. You can read more about him here or connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Pinterest.

Comments

  1. As a teacher, I take classes to move up the salary table. Unfortunately, I maxed out my pay for the most part until they give us an increase. Hopefully this school year.

  2. Bryce @ Save and Conquer says:

    For a mechanical engineer, like myself, a professional engineering license can be a requirement for employment with some companies. Then again, a requirement has never come up in the 28 years that I have been with my company. Other engineering fields, like civil, almost always have a licensing requirement.

  3. Hi Lance,

    I couldn’t agree more that for SOME lines of work credentials are critical for success; however, it’s important to point out that many people who have these credentials never use them for their intended purpose and never earn up to their potential. Conversely, many people without a single credential are powerful earners and can be very successful.

    I never earned a formal degree and it never held me back. As a hiring manager, I absolutely considered it a positive when an applicant had a degree, but it was never the deciding factor. I was interested in people with the right attitude, an interest in being a valued member of the team and had the potential to be a top performer. If they came with a degree, great!

    There are too many people out there carrying the burdens of student loans that are either not using them or are earning small incomes despite their education.

    A thought-provoking post!
    Ree

    • It definitely isn’t always this way with all lines of work and you’ll always find exceptions to the rule, however, certifications can really help you out. I mainly wrote the post to get people thinking about them. If it won’t help you out in your career, obviously it could be a waste of time and money just to get letters after your name.

  4. Hi Lance,

    I work in the IT field and certifications definitely help in landing a new job or in providing security for an existing job. In addition to certifications, companies look for valuable work experience and will contact your prior managers to get a sense of your work ethic and technical knowledge. I know of 2 instances in my past job search history where having the right certification was the deciding factor in landing the new position.

    In the IT field, it’s very important to reinvest in yourself. Technology evolves rapidly, and so must you.

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