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How I got hired, promoted 4 times in 3 years, and increased my salary by 1000% [Part 1]

How I got hired, promoted 4 times in 3 years, and increased my salary by 1000% [Part 1]
Photo by SpaceX / Unsplash

The framework you need to launch your career.

I started by putting myself out there to recruiters with skills that I had in the job market that I was interested in pursuing.

For me that was drafting. For you it could be:

  • Graphic design
  • Writing
  • Coding
  • Bookkeeping

I believe that technical skills lend themselves to this framework the best, but really any skill that someone is willing to pay you for will work.

My goal was to work for a mid-sized engineering firm as a drafter. I had taken CAD classes in college and had some previous work experience using Autocad.

  • LinkedIn
  • Zip Recruiter
  • Indeed

This part will be much easier to do today with “easy apply” buttons and ChatGPT. Leverage all the tools that you have available to get your resume niched down for each open role and apply, apply, apply.

It did not take long for a recruiter to reach out to me about a contract-to-hire position at a reputable firm. I took that opportunity and went in for the interview.

The interview was what you would expect from any corporate company, but did include a 20min. test of the technical skills listed on my resume.

This is why I think that starting with a technical skill is a faster route to success.

I passed the test and was hired in after a background check and drug screening. You have to pass all the test before hiring for this plan to work.

I had a 6 month contract with entry-level pay at a mid-sized firm within a month of starting my search. Now the real work and fun begins.

With the contract term you have the finish line. The countdown to work your ass off and prove that they need to hire you on full-time at the end of the term.

This is why I looked for a mid-sized firm. You want to work somewhere that is going to have plenty of work for you, preferably with locations in multiple states. Avoid small employers that will use you and use you after they work through a clients contract.

For the length of your contract you are going to work as hard as you ever have in your life.

  • Take on the tasks that other avoid
  • Get there early
  • Stay late
  • Build relationships with co-workers
  • Learn the systems
  • Learn where the needs are
  • Do good work
  • Communicate timelines
  • When you ask a question, also bring 3 potential solutions

Your unique situation will present opportunities to stand out and shine. Take all of them.

Having a finish line with the end of your contract will make it easier to do your best work on days when you aren’t feeling it.

I came to the end of my term and was offered a full-time position as an entry-level drafter. This was the first real opportunity to negotiate for higher pay.

Because I was in a technical position with clear metrics that I could point to when negotiating it was an easy conversation to have.

  • Track your bill-ability and profitability for the company
  • Track your efficiency and timeliness of projects completed
  • Build genuine relationships with your coworkers
  • Do whatever you can to be positioned to make the best possible case for yourself.

Ask for a higher salary than you think you can get. I stick to 10–15% over whatever the high-end market rate is for the position. You can find that information on Glassdoor.

I was able to secure a 20% pay increase. I also used this as an opportunity to get a sense for the companies pay structure and limits.

Congratulations, you are now a full-time employee of a reputable firm with plenty of room for advancement in a technical field that keeps you interested and motivated. I know this because if it didn’t, you wouldn’t have been hired on full-time and would want start back from the beginning.

In this new role you will have already done yourself a huge favor during the contract period. You now have a solid foundation built on merit that will enable you to skyrocket through the corporate ladder.

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