At the 2022 Atlantic Coast Veterinary Conference, Charlotte Lacroix, DVM, JD, shared strategies for uncovering your worth and skills for asking for more money at work
Although many experts focus on the importance of being empowered, empowerment is even more important because it comes from you rather than others, according to Charlotte Lacroix, DVM, JD, CEO of Veterinary Business Advisors at Whitehouse Station, New Jersey. Speaking at the 2022 Atlantic Coast Veterinary Conference (ACVC) in Atlantic City, New Jersey,1 Lacroix outlined methods to empower yourself in the veterinary workplace by revealing your true worth, and then leveraging that knowledge and confidence to make more money.
Make a realistic self-assessment
Lacroix noted that online tests and consultants are available to help individuals make a realistic assessment. Alternatively, they can complete a self-assessment that identifies strengths and weaknesses. Some strengths may be related to experience (e.g. work history, degrees and certifications, unpaid positions, etc.) or related to skills (e.g. leadership, organization, communication, problem-solving abilities, etc.) . To determine strengths, individuals can search online for characteristics and experiences that appeal to employers and this same list can also help them reveal their weaknesses.
“I would like you to go home and write those highlights. I know you have plenty…[think] on, ‘What am I doing right? What am I good at?’ And in each element, [also consider your] personal challenges,” Lacroix told ACVC attendees.
It is important to note that a self-assessment must be realistic. Lacroix noted that individuals don’t want to be too modest and underestimate themselves at work, or too confident that they can’t live up to their own expectations.
Develop a continuous improvement plan
To advance further in your career while earning more money, it also pays to plan ways to continuously develop yourself. Lacroix says it can be helpful to receive guidance from a trusted mentor who provides clear and constructive feedback. Multiple mentors can also be helpful, for various perspectives.
To find the perfect mentor, Lacroix suggests looking at those you’ve worked with or networked with. “There may be some mentors out there lurking, so go have lunch with someone who might be a potential mentor. And enjoy yourself [of] continuing education meetings to gain knowledge and network with each other. Some of you have local management groups or local tech groups, so reach out to each other,” she told attendees.
Once you’ve found a mentor who has your best interest at heart, Lacroix advised being open to their input, as it can provide invaluable insight that may not have been recognized on its own. Individuals should also be mindful of the feedback provided by their mentor so that they can respond to it directly, while showing determination to make improvements.
Create a personal brand statement
In today’s world, branding is not only for products but also for professionals, and they can convey through a personal brand statement what makes them unique and an asset to proclaim their value on the workplace. Lacroix noted that it also empowers individuals, since those who don’t declare a personal brand, will ultimately see others do it for them.
What is a personal brand statement? “It’s an art, and it’s selling yourself while also knowing what someone else needs…because if you [don’t] find what they need, or put it in the language they need, they don’t listen,” Lacroix said.
Some questions she noted that can help professionals develop this statement include what they stand for and stand for, for example: what do you aspire to do now and in the future? What areas of work would make you a good employee or a great leader? Where are you still improving?
Once a personal brand statement is created, the best way to communicate it is learned not just through words, but through an individual’s actions every day at work.
Ask for more money
As individuals further improve personally and professionally and serve as continuous learners, they deserve a raise. To do this, however, professionals must ask for it, Lacroix pointed out.
Here are some tips she gave participants for asking for a raise:
- Be prepared to highlight your accomplishments and how they continually add value to the workplace and the company
- Know the industry standards for your position and share how your value can benefit the company financially
- Be direct in your request for a raise and know what additional responsibility you would be willing to take on
- Practice in front of the mirror and practice in front of trusted colleagues to receive feedback
- Anticipate the questions you may be asked
Also, if you are told, “no” professionals need to be prepared how to react. Either way, Lacroix said asking for a raise showcases an individual’s value to themselves and their confidence. It may lead to a future raise at a current workplace or may inspire someone to find a new role.
To honor mentors and other support professionals who have contributed to professional progression in their careers, Lacroix suggested that they “pay it forward” and provide others with similar insight. Some examples of this may include serving as a mentor, showcasing those in the industry who can help each other, and praising those who work hard.
Lacroix C. Understanding your value and using it to earn more. Presented at the Atlantic Coast Veterinary Conference; Atlantic City, New Jersey. October 10-12, 2022.