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2011 salaries expected to remain the same — Increase your income odds with 4 ongoing strategies

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in Admins,Hiring,Human Resources,Leaders & Managers,Management Training,Office Management

Base pay for administrative professionals across the United States is expected to remain consistent with 2010 levels, according to the OfficeTeam Salary Guide 2011.

The average increase in starting salaries for all positions is 1.1%, with slightly larger gains forecast in customer service and health care.

Where are the gains?

If you’re a technical whiz, flaunt it. Businesses seek admins with intermediate to advanced proficiency in Microsoft Office applications, including Word, Excel, Outlook and PowerPoint.

And as administrative professionals take on more responsibility in new areas, sought-after candidates will have expertise in Adobe Acrobat, Microsoft Access, database management software, enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, and monitoring of social media.

Get all the goods in one place — Microsoft Office 101: Getting Excel, Word, PowerPoint and Access to Work Together
Even if you have a job now, here are 4 things you should do today — and every day — to improve your chances of landing your next job, at a higher salary:

1. Come out from behind your desk and purposefully network. Learn about the workplace needs of other people and how you can serve them—before you need them to do you a favor.

2. Refresh skills that are needed now in the marketplace.
Karen Porter, founder and president of The Effective Admin and the Virtual Association for Administrative Professionals, reports that admins often tell her, “I wish I could afford your training publication on X because it’s a skill I need to learn or refresh, but I can’t afford it now, because I’m unemployed.”

That’s yet another reason to bolster in-demand skills now, before you need them.

“As an administrative professional, you anticipate regularly at work and on behalf of your manager or executive,” she says. “Start using the skill of anticipation personally in your own career blueprint.”

Now you can get affordable training on all the vital programs in the MS Office suite. Learn More...

3. Regularly scan online ads to get ahead of the job-searching game. What skills and attributes are employers asking for today?

“For instance, I’ve seen some lively discussions in group forums on the usage of shorthand by administrative assistants and executive assistants and whether you need to know this skill or not,” Porter says.

Admins often say they use shorthand in the office to increase efficiency with note-taking.

“But I challenge you to find a request for this skill in the ads seeking administrative professionals,” she says. “You won’t. While it’s definitely helpful for note-taking, and perhaps useful to flaunt with the right executive or hiring manager, most employers today won’t consider this a high-value skill.”

And therein lies the issue: You want to portray yourself as a high-value employee with high-value skills. If shorthand isn’t considered a high-value skill, it’s not something to trumpet.

On the other hand, Porter says she recently saw an ad seeking admins first and foremost with “extensive minute-taking experience.” The ad also mentioned the ability to set priorities, meet multiple deadlines, compose correspondence and be proficient in Microsoft Office.

“How many of those areas are you strong in? Weak in? I can almost guarantee that, even if you’re interviewed, the person with ‘extensive minute-taking skills’ will be ahead of you for the job offer (all other things equal),” she says.

4. Find the gaps on your résumé. What could you add to your résumé to make yourself more attractive to hiring managers? Do you have plenty of accomplishments to list? If not, set some specific goals at work, initiate a project or volunteer.

Are you lacking certain skills? Get certified in popular software programs. Teach a class in-house at your company on a certain skill topic.

Porter asks, “What better way to show you know your subject matter than to be able to say you taught X number of classes on it for X years to X employees?”

Bottom line: Make yourself employable now before you’re unexpectedly unemployed later.

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