NEW YORK (MONEY Magazine) -
Move No. 1: Don't ask for a big raise.
Increases will be modest in 2006. Ask for a bonus instead. "Companies are willing to reward performance through incentives and bonuses," says Steven Gross of HR consultant Mercer. Fifty-five percent use spot cash awards and signing bonuses.
Move No. 2: Get a better gig. Recruiters say the fields below will be in high demand for 2006 and beyond. If you have relevant skills, get the training you need to make a switch. If you're already in one of these areas, you've got bargaining power.
Retirement planning Aging boomers need financial advisers and tax lawyers.
Health care Constant change means work for benefit-plan administrators and information technology specialists.
Auditing Increased scrutiny of corporate books requires more accountants.
Move No. 3: Get an M.B.A. on the IRS. Historically, it's been difficult to deduct the cost of an M.B.A. from your taxes, but a 2005 ruling by the U.S. Tax Court improves your chances.
You can write off the cost of your tuition, but only if the degree "improves and enhances" your ability to perform in the job you have. You don't have to stay at your current company to get the tax break, but you'll lose the deduction if you quit to go to school full time or you use the M.B.A. to change careers.
Also...Unemployment state by state
Strategies...Starting over mid-career
More moves for 2006...