Consistently step up whenever you have the opportunity to take charge. An unstable economy offers sporadic chances for upward mobility — if your manager is fired, you should make a move immediately. Bob Calandra, coauthor of How to Keep Your Job in a Tough Competitive Market, provides this script: "I'm not looking to be promoted, but I also recognize no one wants chaos. I know the ins and outs of my boss's job, so feel free to tap me for any of her work while we're in this transitional phase." Don't appear as though you expect something in return, and you might just get it.
You can't get what you deserve unless you know what you're worth. Do your research online (payscale.com and salary.com have salary range information for most careers), ask around the office (verydiscreetly!), and check job boards to get an accurate picture of how your job is valued right now.