Google recently released the top searched of the past 13 years that began with the words “how to…” We interpreted that as a list of the essential life skills that people didn’t know how to do. (I covered that story for Pursuit.ca.)
One of the top ten on that list was, “How to make money…” So, for those of us who are wondering, there are actually a few surprisingly easy things everyone could do immediately to boost their earning potential. Try these.
Iron your shirt
Simply being well groomed can increase your income by thousands of dollars.
Those were the findings of a recent study that found that the best-groomed employees can earn as much as $14,000 more than their peers who put little to no effort into their appearance.
We’ve heard before that good-looking people tend to make more money than their less attractive coworkers, but this study found that the effort people put into looking put together mattered more than whatever their natural beauty was.
Wrote the study authors: “We find that attractive individuals earn roughly 20% more than people of average attractiveness, but this gap is reduced when controlling for grooming, suggesting that the beauty premium can be actively cultivated.”
What does that mean? It pays to care. Which can actually be an indicator of other factors in your workplace behaviour. People who care how they present themselves and put some effort into it will fare better than those who don’t. They know that they are building a personal brand with how they look. They are marketing – and selling – themselves.
Shave and iron your shirt before work. It pays off.
Good writers make more money – regardless of what sector they’re in.
Want to move up through the ranks and increase your salary without changing careers? Learn to write better. Written communications skills pay off in just about any role.
The team at Grammarly found that those people who use proper grammar advance further and faster up the ladder. To come to this conclusion, they analysed the LinkedIn profiles of native English-speaking professionals, and compared their language skills with their career trajectories over a ten-year period. Their findings were striking.
People whose profiles reflected poorer grammar skills don’t advance in their careers. Those who had not reached a director-level position in the first decade of their professional lives made 2.5 times as many grammatical errors as did the people who had obtained director-level or higher job titles.
The professionals who made the fewest grammatical mistakes were promoted more often and changed jobs more frequently than did their more error-prone peers.
Grammarly also found that people who are better writers tend to make more money across industries – Especially in the fields of engineering and manufacturing, law, and sales and marketing. This was determined by reviewing the grammar and spelling of hundreds professional profiles across sectors and analyzing their career-level and earnings compared with the number of writing mistakes they had made.
Notably, this study did not indicate that the people reaping the benefits of their writing skills had to be fantastically talented with a turn of phrase. They weren’t remarkably eloquent on paper. They simply made fewer spelling and grammatical errors. They cared enough to produce error-free profiles.
Proofread your texts. It pays off.
Learn to sell
A recent study analyzed the subjects that the world’s 100 richest people studied in school and how they started out in their careers. The patterns revealed that most of the wealthiest people (who did not inherit their money or family business) began their careers in the same job.
They worked as sales reps.
In many ways, sales is the only job that matters. The most successful sales people know how to expertly communicate and empathise with their clients. They don’t just push products and services on them, they understand the challenges of other organizations and find solutions to solve their problems.
They also negotiate internally to ensure that their own company can deliver on promises made and contracts signed. They must have honed people skills and a talent for negotiation and problem solving.
Most importantly for their own career, they know how to sell themselves. This is how you get hired for enviable roles. Not by pushing your credentials or boasting about your experience, but by demonstrating that you can solve an employer’s problems. You can make their life easier.
Sales is the only job that matters, you say, but what about doctors? Treating patients and saving lives builds the hospital’s brand. It keeps more patients coming in. Have a few incompetent doctors on staff misdiagnosing and causing more harm than good and that hospital is in trouble. Patients will stop going. No sale.
Artists sell art. Clergy sell belief and membership. Athletes sell tickets and sponsors’ products. The garbage collector works for the city and keeps the city streets clean, selling the municipal brand to homeowners and tourists. Writers sell newspapers and magazines (well they used to, anyway.) Customer service, IT support, Finance, of course they are all in sales. Most of my career has been spent in marketing. But what is marketing really? Yeah, it’s sales.
Realize that you are in sales, and market your work accordingly. It pays off.
Being well groomed is just part of your successful sales pitch. Good story telling in a resume or a job interview allows you to frame your past skills and qualifications to the needs of the role you are targeting. It impresses interviewers. That’s good writing. It’s also sales. And that is how you make more money.