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A Winner's Guide: How Do You Make a 100K Salary?

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A wise mentor once told me that if you are going to work hard, you might as well get paid well for it. And it is true. Most people work hard, but most do not have 6 figure jobs. So what is the difference between you getting 100k job or working just as hard for half that much? The difference is all in how you package and present yourself to a prospective employer.

People ultimately get paid what they think they are worth or what they ask for. No company is waiting to offer you more than you say you deserve, why should they? There are not many jobs over 100k, because people will do the work for less. If you have an hourly employee working on an assembly line, it is easy to calculate how much revenue that person directly generates for the company and pay him/her accordingly. So manual labor is paid based on skill and the value added to the product being produced.

For 6 figure jobs in the executive ranks, the math gets a little more complicated. It is not as easy to determine the immediate value of an employee's work, especially if he/she is involved in long term planning and development for the company. That is why the human resources departments at the best companies spend a lot of time carefully filling the 100k jobs with qualified applicants who they know will bring value to the companies over time.

So to make the transition to jobs over 100k, the big leagues as it were, you need to present yourself as if you were selling a product. It is not enough to just put your information out there, you need to push it, and you need to sell it. There are no absolutes as far as experience and education are concerned because most candidates have a different mix of both. To be considered for 6 figure jobs you are going to have to have one or the other.

Identify your strengths and put them in the spotlight. If you have specialized experience that can only be gained by years of on the job training, then spell it out clearly on your resume and find ways to demonstrate it in interviews to distinguish yourself from less experienced candidates vying for the same 100 k jobs. The job market is very tough right now. There are still jobs out there but there are many more applicants for each position. So you need to make yourself shine.

If you do not have a lot of experience, you may want to consider continuing your education as an alternative. Especially if your job search is not going as planned, now is a good time to add to your resume by going back to school. With a two year MBA program or a specialty in your field, you can ride out the tail end of the recession and improve your chances of finding job over 100k when you graduate. If you take this route, you will want to gear your resume to reflect your education, which will be your strong suit.

Another perk of going back to school is the increased opportunity to network with alumni. Part of what you are paying for besides the education is that access to the alumni network. At the right school, this can mean an introduction to alumni who have influence over hiring decisions for the 100k job you are searching for.
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