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17 steps to a bigger paycheck

You might not be cut out to be a surgeon or a CEO, but you'd probably still like to collect an equally large paycheck.

That might not be in the cards, but you can boost the paycheck you do get by showcasing your strongest skills and acquiring a few new ones, according to several career management experts.

Want to boost your own paycheck?

1. Network, network, network. The old adage is true. It's not just what you know, it's who you know. "Networking never fails," says Lena Bottos, director of compensation for Salary.com. "It's knowing who are the other people in your industry." And when the time comes that you want to make a change, "You have people you can go to," she says. It's also practical. "The people in your profession will give you the most leads," says Martin Yate, author of "Knock 'Em Dead 2007: The Ultimate Job Search Guide."

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2. Expand your circle beyond the people who are most like you. Get to know everyone. You never know who might have that golden Rolodex.

3. Realize that your new part-time job is looking for your next job. Like exercise, you do a little regularly and you'll get the best results, says Debbie Ellis, president of Phoenix Career Group. Join one or two industry organizations. Cultivate a few favorite career Web sites (including industry association sites) and have potential opportunities e-mailed to you. (If nothing else, this gives you a "job map" of what people in your industry need, says Yate.) Analyze the gaps between what these jobs require and the skills and experience you have, then plot the steps you need to take to become a top contender. "You can't just follow the opportunities that present themselves," says Ellis.

4. Think globally. "In the next 10 years, we will triple the goods sent 'round the world," says Yate. As a result, languages and supply-chain management skills will be in high demand.

5. Trash your old-fashioned resume. When people start looking for jobs, the first thing they do is update their resumes, usually by adding a few lines to include the latest job, says Yate. Too old school. Today, resumes are kept in databases and searched with certain keywords. So your old-style format won't cut it, says Yate. "Instead, turn your resume on its head: Show them your skills," he says.

To go along with the resume, consider a "leadership addendum," says Ellis. Basically, this is a list of achievements "that focuses on skills and situations," she says.

6. Take the initiative. When you notice changes at one of your target companies, (it's going after a niche market, opening a new division, launching a new product), send them a proposal telling them what you could do to make it happen. "It's a much more proactive introduction," says Ellis.

7. Keep up. Every field is changing constantly, from the terminology to the technology. While it's tempting to cut corners and stick with what you know, it can hurt you in the long run. "It's hard," says Ellis. "No one has enough time." Budget some time to stay current and don't be afraid to ask yourself if there is something (a degree, language, skill or computer program), that could make you more efficient or effective. "Just a little bit will go a long way," she says.

Next: "The easiest way to move up is in your current organization. ..."
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