QUESTION: I just received my master’s degree and would like to use it to get a higher paying role. How do I get employers to pay me what I’m worth with my new degree?
An advanced degree is a great way to stand out but that’s not what’s standing in the way between you and the compensation you deserve. People pay people to solve problems. Therefore, you need to identify the employer’s primary pain points, especially the most expensive ones, and connect the dots between your qualifications, prior experiences, and successes to get the hiring manager’s attention.
Along with your new degree, update your resume and follow up with a cover letter, email or if you can have a meeting with your employer, explain to them the additional experience and transferable skills you already have that complement the degree. What did you learn while obtaining your degree that would help the company? What problems would you solve? State this and anything that helps your case.
Your salary is an investment and the employer wants to know he will get a high return on this investment. Just because you have a degree, it is not a promise of ROI. Consider what added value (skills and expertise) you bring to the table and how much additional revenue or cost savings the company can gain as a result of having you on the team. Sell it – don’t tell it!
Apply for positions that are advertised as “Master’s degree preferred”… or public and private sector job announcements that require an advanced degree. These are posted by employers who know that they must pay a premium for postgraduate education. On your resume and communications, place the MA, MBA or other designation after your name. This will signal to employers that you value your degree.
Conduct research on “your worth” based on your degree, your years of experience, and the region you live in. Use Glassdoor, LinkedIn, Payscale, and salary.com to gather this information. Some of these sites will also have information on company pay ranges. Ask yourself why you are worth more $$ and answer in terms of what you can offer employers that will make their businesses more profitable.
A graduate degree does not necessarily warrant a higher salary with your current company unless it was written into your contract or required for promotion/raise. A master’s does not automatically make you worth more – your accomplishments set your value. Often, the best bet is to find and apply for a job with a company paying higher salaries, then jump ship and hope to land on a yacht.
Focus your resume on your desired new role with the appropriate title, keywords, and skills. Highlight previous achievements, such as collaborations, customer service, process improvements, revenue increases, and cost savings. List relevant courses, class projects, presentations, conferences, professional memberships, leadership positions, and all internships with the impacts you achieved.
Ask a Question
Ask us your question and it may be selected as the topic of our next blog post, with answers compiled from the advice of NRWA members.
Work with the Best
Find a Resume Expert
If you’re looking for more information on how to write a great resume – or get an expert to help you with yours – you’ve come to the right place! This site was created by the National Resume Writers’ Association (NRWA), a US-based non-profit association with members from around the world who are dedicated to learning about and providing expertise in resume writing to all job seekers.
The National Résumé Writers’ Association
9 Newport Drive #200, Forest Hill, MD 21050
Thanks for checking out ResumeExperts.theNRWA.com!
For more on our association and certification, see www.thenrwa.com