Boost Your Image to Boost Your Salary

salary-man-wearing-suit-holding-word-his-hands-41219907I recently read a series of posts by a colleague of mine on what candidates should and should not do when negotiating a pay raise at their current company. The information was largely accurate and relevant, instructing candidates to avoid arguments that focus on fairness, need, or length of tenure while emphasizing performance and success.

After reading and reflecting on these posts, I was struck by one overwhelming thought:

This is all very logical.

Immediately, I recognized that the problem here is too much logic. Don’t get me wrong, I love logic. I fancy myself a very rational, logical thinker. Most of us examine the decisions that others make with our logic, but make decisions of our own because of feelings. Think about it logically (smile)…consider advertising campaigns. When you see an ad for something you’re not interested in, you scoff and shake your head. However, when you see an ad for something that piques your interest (like the next new gadget), you’re transfixed and suddenly willing to overlook the cheesy marketing ploys used in the ad.

The same concept applies here. You’re not going to talk yourself into a raise (not a great one, at least) by using only logical arguments.

Image Is Vital

As much as you and I may hate it, image and perception trump substance in the world of work today. Actually, this has always been true to some extent, but in this era of teamwork and collaboration, if the people around you perceive you as a poor worker or a pain to deal with, your image across the organization won’t be so hot. There are always those people that are terrible at what they do but can game the system and make people think they’re great. On the flip side, there are amazing performers that contribute a ton of value who never go anywhere because they’ve done nothing to boost their image.

How Do I Boost My Image?

There are many things you can do to boost your image. In fact, there are various layers here, making the answer really complex. However, it will probably start with changing your thinking. If you’re like me, you are able to identify the frauds and can see through every move they make. It’s obvious to everyone, right? Wrong! Most people are so busy or are caught up faking things themselves that they don’t see what’s so obvious to you. I’m not advocating being fake yourself, but evaluating what the “successful frauds” do well and learning from that. So when you add a positive perception with substantive performance, your image is going to skyrocket.

That’s when you’ll be in a powerful position to negotiate a great raise based on your positive image (the feeling you produce in others about what you offer) and the value you bring (the logical evidence giving credence to those feelings).

Stephen Van VreedeAbout Stephen—-

Stephen Van Vreede is not your average IT/technical résumé writer. He provides career strategy and concierge job search solutions for senior (15+ years) (ITtechExec) and up-and-coming (NoddlePlace) (5-15 years) tech and technical operations leaders. Stephen and his team focus on building simplified, targeted, and certain career move campaigns, be it an external search or an internal promotion. He is co-author of UNcommon with career development leader Brian Tracy (out June 11, 2015). Contact Stephen directly at or send him an invite at To see whether Stephen and his team are a good fit for you, take their free (and anonymous) 1-minute compatibility quiz, Is the ITtechExec Approach a Good Match for You? Also, feel free to take his complimentary resume self-assessment quiz, How Certain Can You Be About Your Technical Resume? You might be surprised by what you find out!

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