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Talent Talk: You Are the CEO of Your Career

After being heavily tilted in favor of employees the past couple of years, the playing field has leveled out, but there are still opportunities to further your professional goals.

Paul Sturgeon

January 29, 2024

2 Min Read
happy businessman running
Ed Bock/Image Bank via Getty Images

Last week we looked at how 2024 might be quite different from 2023 if you are making hiring-related New Year’s Resolutions. Here is an excerpt that summarizes the past couple of years:

“The [2022-2023] environment was driven by intense competition for skilled workers, salary inflation, signing bonuses, and so on. Over the past two years, our anecdotal experience was that passive candidates making job changes were expecting — and getting — 10 to 25% pay bumps.”

As S. E. Hilton wrote in her best-selling 1971 novel of the same name: “That was then, this is now.” As an employee you do need to be aware that the playing field, once tilted heavily in your favor, has leveled out.

You can still ask for a raise, but be sure to "read the room"

If your salary increases have lagged in general for the past few years, you can still consider asking for a raise — you just might need to be your own advocate. Do a little research to see where you are relative to your industry peers and justify what you ask for rationally. The plastics industry isn’t coming off a great year. Hopefully 2024 begins a turnaround, but “read the room” based on how your company has been performing.

Update your resume

Before asking for a raise, make sure your resume is up to date in case they fire you on the spot. I’m just kidding — you will not get fired for professionally asking for an increase, but you should still update your resume, especially if you have been with your company for a while and are not actively looking. Updating your resume once a year is a good way to document the contributions you have made to the organization.

Check your social media accounts

Update your LinkedIn profile. When you update your resume, you have all the information you need to spruce up your on-line business card, which is LinkedIn. This will help people find you for any number of reasons — high school and college reunions, community groups, professional organizations, and so on. It is the number one way that a company or recruiter might initially see your background.

Make sure any other places you appear on social media portray you in a professional light, or change your settings so that a potential employer cannot see you. These sites are fair game for companies as the information is available to the public.

About the Author(s)

Paul Sturgeon

Paul Sturgeon is CEO of KLA Industries, a national search firm specializing in plastics, packaging, and polymer technology. If you have a topic you would like to see discussed, a company that is growing, or other ideas for this blog, e-mail Sturgeon at [email protected].

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