7 Controversial Ways to Boost Your Salary

Photo (cc) by thetaxhaven

Following traditional career advice like “be a team player” or “get an advanced degree” can help your career. But there are plenty of factors that can impact your earning power. Some are out of your hands, while others are in your control – and in some cases, may even push ethical limits.

In a perfect world, none of the following factors would matter to your career prospects. But in this one, they might.

Let’s start with some physical characteristics and habits that may lead to an income boost. ..

1. Hit the gym and slim down

Jealous of slim co-workers who love hitting the gym every day? You might envy their increased earning power too.

A study from New York University found “a one percent increase in a woman’s body mass results in a 0.6 percentage point decrease in her family income.” While that might be shocking, the difference between “normal” and “obese” body mass is typically at least 5 percentage points and can go into double-digits.

Even just getting to the gym could be enough to get a bump in salary. Results from a Journal of Labor Research study reported a 9 percent higher pay on average for those who exercise regularly versus those who don’t. Of course, that’s no evidence of cause and effect – it could be that people who work out are also better workers and thus earn higher pay.

While there are no guarantees you’ll find better fiscal shape with better physical shape, hitting the gym could be a win-win.

2. Think tall

Being tall isn’t just advantageous for dating or standing out in a crowd. Several studies suggest being taller correlates with higher salary.

From a study titled “The Effect of Physical Height on Workplace Success and Income,” research showed men standing 6 feet tall can expect earnings averaging $5,525 more per year than those only reaching 5’5″ in height. The study suggests there may be a link between our height and how we view ourselves and are viewed by others, which in turn leads to better workplace performance and increased career success.

While the height effect was more pronounced in men than women, it did apply to both sexes.

3. Be happier

Feeling down? This won’t help: Those who are happier and possess higher self-esteem routinely earn more.

A study from Illinois Wesleyan University concluded that happiness and high self-esteem at a young age lead to greater income later in life. The authors found that positivity was a crucial factor – positive and happy workers are often more productive.

If you find these results depressing, turn your outlook around and embrace the positive parts of your life.

4. Look competent

Just having a competent look is evidently a plus for your career, even if you aren’t actually capable.

In a Duke University study, CEOs who seemed most competent based solely on appearance earned 7.5 percent more than CEOs who didn’t score as well. But based on company performance, there was no relationship between looking competent and actually being competent.

So what does it take to appear competent? The researchers concluded that those with more “mature” facial features fared better than their “baby-faced” counterparts. Maybe eternal youth isn’t so valuable after all, at least not when it comes to career earnings.

If none of the above physical characteristics help your case, let’s continue with some less-than-ethical moves that can lead to a salary jolt. While we’re not endorsing these, they are proven ways that individuals have moved up the ladder and pay scale.

5. Lie about your previous salary

Some job applicants lie about their previous salary either on applications or in interviews. The argument: Why not, if it helps with salary negotiation? Getting a boost on starting salary means accelerated earnings with each future raise too.

The downside: If prospective employers find out your current or past salary, getting caught in a lie can mean losing out on a job.

6. Go after your boss’s job

It’s no surprise that bosses earn more than the employees they oversee. But in America’s biggest companies, they earn a lot more. On average for 2011, CEOs at Fortune 50 companies earned 379 times what the average worker at their company did. Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, topped the list with total compensation of $378 million: a whopping 6,258 times more than his average employee.

So aiming for the top could pay handsomely. But if your plan is to use politics and dirty tricks to get your boss fired, beware: This knife cuts both ways.

7. Embellish your resume

Have you thought about giving your position a sexy job title like “Print Production Manager” when you were really just an intern responsible for manning the office copy machine? The temptation is always there to dress up your resume, and doing so could make you eligible for better work opportunities and a higher salary.

It’s not uncommon: 31 percent of respondents in one survey admitting to lying on a resume.

Of course, distorting the truth is always high-risk. According to Career Builder survey results, more than half of hiring managers they surveyed caught applicants lying on their resume. Needless to say, those individuals didn’t get the job.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
21 Purchases You Should Never Skimp On
21 Purchases You Should Never Skimp On

With some items, it makes sense to pay a little more rather than hopping on the lowest price.

7 Secret Perks of Individual Retirement Accounts
7 Secret Perks of Individual Retirement Accounts

IRAs come with bells and whistles that many other accounts lack — including some perks you may not know exist.

8 Secrets of an Expert Thrift Store Shopper
8 Secrets of an Expert Thrift Store Shopper

Here’s how a veteran thrift shopper scores the best deals — and turns a profit from them.

8 Key Steps to Planning for Retirement as a Couple
8 Key Steps to Planning for Retirement as a Couple

Ready for retirement? Not so fast. You might be surprised at some of the issues that come up for couples when they plan.

10 Mistakes That Cost You Money at Warehouse Stores
10 Mistakes That Cost You Money at Warehouse Stores

Wholesale clubs might have great deals, but these mistakes will cost you.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

How to Buy Gas At Costco Without a Membership
How to Buy Gas At Costco Without a Membership

The warehouse club often has some of the cheapest gas in town. Here’s how you can get it as a nonmember.

10 Things to Stop Buying If You Want a Clutter-Free Home
10 Things to Stop Buying If You Want a Clutter-Free Home

If you like to keep things simple, avoid these purchases.

A Simple Way to Silence Robocalls Today
A Simple Way to Silence Robocalls Today

A few steps can keep your phone from ringing when a spammer calls.

If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It
If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It

This iconic dinnerware is prized for everyday use as well as reselling for profit.

This Company Makes the Best Tires in America
This Company Makes the Best Tires in America

Driver satisfaction with tires is at an all-time high, but one brand stands out.

7 Home Improvements That Cost a Lot More in 2021
7 Home Improvements That Cost a Lot More in 2021

These projects will take a bigger bite out of your budget than in the recent past.

This Health Issue Can Hint at Dementia Years in Advance
This Health Issue Can Hint at Dementia Years in Advance

One type of pain is especially associated with cognitive decline.

Can I Switch to Spousal Social Security Benefits When My Ex Dies?
Can I Switch to Spousal Social Security Benefits When My Ex Dies?

Knowing when to claim can help you maximize benefits.

Medicare Will Not Cover These 6 Medical Costs
Medicare Will Not Cover These 6 Medical Costs

Don’t let these health care expenses catch you off guard in retirement.

8 Things You Should Always Buy on Amazon
8 Things You Should Always Buy on Amazon

The giant retailer shines when it comes to these things, from basics to hard-to-find specialty goods.

Beware This Hidden Ingredient in Rotisserie Chicken
Beware This Hidden Ingredient in Rotisserie Chicken

Something foul may lurk in those delicious, ready-to-eat birds.

5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free
5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free

Hesitant to drop $119 a year on an Amazon Prime membership? Here’s how to get it for free.

5 Ways to Fill Your Pantry With Free Food
5 Ways to Fill Your Pantry With Free Food

Anyone can take advantage of these resources.

Never Buy These 10 Things on Amazon
Never Buy These 10 Things on Amazon

Just because you can purchase something on Amazon doesn’t mean that you should.

7 Big Purchases You Should Never Make
7 Big Purchases You Should Never Make

Sometimes a big-ticket purchase is nothing more than a big waste of money.

5 States With the Worst Health Care for Retirees
5 States With the Worst Health Care for Retirees

All of these states are located in the same region of the nation.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

5 Products You Should Never Buy Generic
5 Products You Should Never Buy Generic

Sometimes the brand-name version is clearly superior.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.