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One Little Tip Boosted My Salary by $15,000!

Sisters share the advice that scored them bigger paychecks and better jobs.

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sisters, aarp, money, tips
Sisters Staff
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A mentor advised me to never let someone else define my vision of success. Her tip gave me the courage to leave what others would label “a good job” for a riskier opportunity that better aligned with my growth and goals. The move ended up being a pivot point toward better paying jobs I couldn’t have landed if I’d stayed put. Whose counsel might lead to a breakthrough along your career journey? To support your success, we asked sisters to share the advice that helped them stand out, earn more and get ahead:

“My mentor told me, ‘When it comes to salary, the first one to mention a number loses! Get the recruiter, manager or human resources person to tip their hand first. Then you have something to work with.’ With that in mind, I considered what a hiring manager told me was the top of the salary range as the bottom instead. Then I was able to slowly negotiate my way to $15,000 more.” —Monica Parker, senior systems implementation technologist, Richardson, Texas

“The best advice I received was ‘when you are at the table, speak your truth.’ I’ve become an advocate and truth-teller in my school system. By saying what others are often thinking, I have been able to move the needle on decisions that impact students and their families. Colleagues and district leaders respect this.” —Leslie H. Stockton, educator, Arlington, Va.

“A business coach told me, ‘You have a powerful story. Don't be afraid to share it.’ I began to use my story, in addition to sharing the stories of my clients, in marketing my business. People became interested in who I was as a person. They appreciated my unique level of service, which created a connection with my ideal clients. I also gained opportunities to speak and to coach other photographers. My peers then became a new client base.” —Rhonisha D. Franklin, photographer, Washington, D.C.

“A professor told me to always be the first to volunteer for assignments outside my scope of work. Being first signifies that you are willing to step out and create the path, rather than following it. Being a trailblazer is a hard act to follow.”— Karen D. Sturdivant, program manager, Lansing, Mich.

“An attorney where I worked told me, ‘If you want to be a director, vice president or above, act as if you already are.’ I prioritized networking within and outside of the company. I changed my communication strategy with staff. I focused on timely bottom-line results. I advanced more quickly thanks to that one statement. —Maryann Master, retired senior vice president for administration for a university, Jacksonville, Fla.

“‘Water your garden and get your check.’ A mentor gave me this advice six years ago when I was struggling in my high-profile career in the entertainment industry. I was miserable and it was taking a toll on mind, body and spirit. Her words encouraged me to find work that made my heart sing.” — Wendi Cherry, integrative nutrition health coach, Falls Church, Va.