The Sneaky Downside to a 6-Figure Salary

The Sneaky Downside to a 6-Figure Salary

This post originally appeared on Mainstreet.

Not much is made of the issue, but U.S. workers earning more than $100,000 annually can struggle to stay on top.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, it now takes laid-off workers who earned $100,000 annually up to 24 months to land another job paying that same amount of money or more, compared with 10 months on average for all workers.

That's a troubling sign for the employment sector and the economy. When it takes longer to replace a six-figure salary, that's taking a ton of money out of the consumer marketplace, and that hurts everyone — sellers and buyers alike.


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There is a silver lining, of sorts. Workplace experts say six-figure jobs do exist — you just have to be diligent and creative in finding them.

"There are strategies that have been proven to dramatically decrease the number of months it takes highly paid job-seekers to find their next positions," says Tammy Kabell, chief executive of Career Resume Consulting, a Kansas City, Mo., executive career placement firm. "It just comes down to having an action plan that works."

Six-figure job hunters are best served by using skills culled from the marketing and sales sectors and applying them to their own job searches, Kabell adds.

The key is to convince employers that you're a guru in your chosen field.

"I've discovered that when you are branded as an expert or have a certain expertise, you get more attention from employers and recruiters than if you are prospecting like any other candidate," she says.

But high-level job-seeking takes a different set of strategies than if you're searching for an entry-level or mid-level position:

Change your resume. Kabell urges six-figure job-seekers to create a one-page, skills-based resume rather than the traditional "chronologically based" resume or cover letter. If you're an expert, your skills will need to stand front and center, not your work history.

Get linked. Top earners should be using the social media site LinkedIn to raise their profile. It helps "personalize" your branding message.

Avoid the boards. Don't use online job boards, where you're competing with up to 1,000 candidates, Kabell says. Instead, go old school and send a paper resume to the manager who you would report to at a chosen company. "A hard copy of your resume will sit on someone's desk far longer than it would sit in their email inbox. Many of my clients continue to get calls for months after they've started their next job," Kabell adds.

Interestingly, Kabell says to forget the cover letter. It's a bedrock tool for most higher-income job earners, but she advises crafting a quick, hand-written note in the margin of the resume. Again, that personalizes your message and gets you remembered by management.

Above all, bring a lot of mojo to the table. Being energetic will serve you well.

"My most successful clients are those that can maintain a high level of activity until they find the right position," she says. "They keep their eye on the prize and make job searching their top priority. Those are the clients that land their next job in less than 12 weeks," she says. Shaving that much time off an executive job search can result in more than $100,000 in recouped income vs. the income lost during an average search at that level.

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