Three ways to stand out in a crowded field.
By Donna Rosato, Money Magazine senior writer
(Money Magazine) -- Expect to work harder for your money, but your job should be safe (unless you work in a vulnerable industry, like housing or autos).
High-performing workers will snag raises of 5.7% or higher in 2008 vs. 3.8% for the average employee, according to Mercer Human Resource Consulting.
Whatever extra money is available will be largely tied to bonuses and other types of incentive pay, according to WorldatWork, an HR association.
How do you make sure you're one of those getting top dollar? You not only need to do your job very well, you have to make sure your boss knows it. Talk regularly with your manager to make sure you're meeting expectations and to keep him up to date on your progress on key goals.
If you're shy about tooting your horn, send e-mails instead, giving him the latest info about an important project or the lowdown about a meeting with a new client.
Get involved in a cross-departmental initiative or an industry association committee where you'll have opportunities to mingle with higher-level folks outside your area.
Training co-workers, getting published in an industry newsletter or helping recruit talent for important positions will all raise your standing.
Haven't joined Facebook yet? Even if you're not actively job hunting, networking is essential to staying up to date with what's going on in your industry.
Professionals are flocking to sites like Facebook and LinkedIn, which make it easier to stay in touch with industry contacts, friends and former colleagues. If you're not on it, you're out of it.
But be sure your virtual networking doesn't do more harm than good. If you're using Facebook as a professional networking tool, don't display anything on your profile that you wouldn't want your boss or a client to know about you.
Be wary of "friending" (extending or accepting an invitation to join your network) someone you don't know well.
If your boss is comfortable going for a drink with you, it's probably fine to invite her to join your network. But unless you've had lunch or worked on a project with a higher-up at your company or in your industry, an invitation may be inappropriate.
The same rule goes for subordinates. Social networking is about the quality of your connections, not a popularity contest. Besides, if you've got hundreds of virtual friends, people may wonder just how much time you spend doing your job.
If you're in an industry that's vulnerable to cutbacks, don't wait for a pink slip to find you. Look for opportunities to increase your marketability by enhancing your skills and experience.
Knowing your way around a PowerPoint presentation and an Excel spreadsheet is a must for almost any professional. But there are probably software programs or certifications specific to your job that can make you more marketable.
Take advantage of training opportunities at work and keep up with the latest developments in your area of expertise. If your employer is involved in a reorganization or downsizing, volunteer to pick up more responsibility, which could help you hang on to your job.
"It'll show you are committed to your organization, and you'll get exposure to people in your company that you normally wouldn't," says Kim Bishop, practice leader at recruiter Korn Ferry.