Getting a promotion or gaining extra qualifications should increase your earning power, so why does your budget seem to take a hit every time you take a next step up the career ladder?
If you’ve been asking yourself the same question, take a look at all the work that goes into career progression.
From unpaid internships and voluntarily taking on more responsibility to taking part in teambuilding activities and even buying a new outfit for job interviews, there are a variety of ways your professional ambitions can impact your finances.
While a promotion can certainly boost your income, your outgoings may increase while you’re putting in the hard work. To help you balance the books and reduce your expenses, take a look at these five ways to maximize your budget while advancing your career:
1. Study Online
A post-graduate or professional qualification can be a fantastic way to stand out from the crowd and outperform other candidates when you’re applying for a more senior role. In some sectors, such as healthcare or law, you’ll need to obtain specific qualifications before you can progress to the next level, which means you’ll need to consider how to fund your studies.
Fortunately, the widespread availability of online programs can drastically reduce your costs when it comes to advancing your career. Enrolling on a prestigious online nurse executive program at Baylor University gives you the opportunity to graduate from a great school while reducing the cost of your qualification, for example.
2. Continue Working Full-Time
If you’re going to complete an additional qualification in order to progress your career, try not to take time out of work in order to do so. A sabbatical might give you more time to focus on your studies, but it can have a significant impact on your income too. Unless you have a considerable amount of savings you can rely on, retaining your full-time role can be the most effective way to maximize your budget while you’re climbing the career ladder.
Part-time courses may offer the flexibility you’re looking for, particularly if you choose to complete them online. Many programs allow you to watch lectures online at a time that suits you, for example, while means you can create your own schedule and personalize your learning experience. By doing so, you can fit your studies around your other professional commitments and maintain financial stability.
3. Reassess Your Budget
If you’re committed to achieving your professional goals, you may need to give up a little of your free time to hit your targets. When you’re completing a post-graduate qualification or taking on more responsibility at work, for example, there may be less time for hobbies and socializing.
Although this can be tough to swallow at first, it does mean that your budget can be adjusted accordingly. If you’re not going out with friends as often, for example, you may not spend as much of your disposable income on socializing or entertainment. Instead, you can channel these funds into other costs, such as course fees, or use them to boost your savings.
4. Access Low-Cost Resources
If you want to apply for more senior roles, then you’ll need develop your skills and acquire more knowledge. Whether you do this informally or via an accredited post-graduate or professional program, you’re likely to need to access specific resources, such as textbooks or online guides.
As all students know, the cost of these resources can have a considerable impact on your budget. In fact, it’s not unusual for one postgraduate textbook to cost hundreds of dollars. However, you don’t necessarily need to purchase every resource that’s recommended to you or listed on your course requirements.
Signing up to a local university library, even if you’re not a registered student, can give you access to the resources you need, while purchasing secondhand up-to-date textbooks can be a viable low-cost option. Similarly, talk to your peers and mentors about which resources are really worth the price tag and choose to invest only in the things that will offer genuine value.
5. Prioritize Networking
Networking can have a major impact on your professional success, regardless of what industry you work in, and it doesn’t need to cost you anything at all. While you’ll still need the credentials and qualifications to confirm your suitability for more senior roles, having good professional connections will always stand you in good stead.
Attend as many industry events as you can, particularly if your employer is willing to give you the time off to do so! What’s more – get involved with the running of sector-specific conferences, seek out speaking opportunities and volunteer to arrange intra-event workshops to widen your network and build your personal brand.
In addition to this, use online networking to enhance your success and get to know people in your industry. Sharing relevant content online, authoring articles and blog posts, and voicing your professional opinion on topical issues can be a highly effective way of building a strong network without incurring any costs.
What Does Professional Success Mean to You?
Choosing a career can be hard enough but reassessing your goals and ambitions partway through your professional life can even scarier. If you’re already on the path to success, why risk a diversion by reconsidering what it is you really want? However, ‘success’ is only genuine if it means something to you. Instead of following the crowd and pursuing a pre-established career path, take the time to really think about what you want to get out of your career.
Achieving your professional goals can always come at a cost – whether it’s time or money – so it’s vital to make sure that the sacrifices are worth it.
As you gain experience in a particular sector or industry, you’ll acquire more knowledge and insight. This will give you the opportunity to identify alternative career paths that you were previously unaware of or unfamiliar with. As a result, you’ll have the chance to expand your horizons and embark on a career path that offers genuine job satisfaction.