What is the best way to go about asking for a raise or promotion?


I was completely caught off guard by the above letter sent to me by a job seeker who had been temping for us for several months. You see, normally, I get calls demanding a raise, justifying a raise and entitled about why someone deserves more money. Never, in all of my years of recruiting, had I received a letter that was so well thought out, eloquent and precise.

This letter was a call to action, which is why I thought it would be worthwhile to share with you and to use as a format to approach getting your own raise and/or promotion.

Below are five steps of how to approach your employer about an increase in your compensation and/or a promotion:

1) Start with gratitude. What I loved about this letter was it started with a simple “thank you” and a compliment.

2) Discuss where you have increased Productivity, Efficiency & Performance (PEP). In this letter, the job seeker clearly states what she has accomplished in the time that she has been contracting for us.

3) Reference where you have received positive feedback. Getting strong letters of recommendation or references from your managers are priceless. These recommendations are always great evidence when working on making a case for a raise or promotion.

4) Re-iterate your gratitude for the position you already have. When asking for a raise or promotion, it is important to be clear that you appreciate the job you already have, and your current compensation so that it does not occur as though you are no longer willing to stay in your current role or at your current rate.

5) Stay humble. “Please” and “Thank you” go a long way. When you approach a manager for a raise or promotion from a place of humility and appreciation, your words will go a lot further.

Upon receiving this letter, I immediately reviewed the facts, the way the letter was written and the person’s past performance and determined that, YES, this person definitely deserved an increase in compensation based on their hard work, dedication and performance.

You may not always get the raise or promotion you want immediately, but if you remain patient, consistent and clear in your intention, you will always be well received.

What are recruiters and how/when should you use one?

The other day I had the opportunity to interview an agency recruiter associate on my “Get Yourself the Job” podcast as to what an agency recruiter is and is not. A lot of people are confused on whether they should utilize an agency recruiter as part of their job search strategy, as well as how/when to use an agency recruiter.

A good agency recruiter is…

·     Someone who is paid by companies to find them applicants to fill their needs (you do NOT pay recruiters anything)

·     Someone who will help counsel and coach you on your resume, your interviewing skills and your career trajectory

·     Someone you should trust, as he or she will be your advocate, representing you in any and all negotiations with potential employers who they present you to

A good agency recruiter is NOT…

·     Your employee (recruiters work for the companies, not the job seekers; however, great recruiters will ALWAYS make sure to put your needs above the need to make a quick fee)

·     Your punching bag (being a jerk to your recruiter is a quick way to get yourself blacklisted with that agency and hurt your reputation in the industry)

·     Greedy (good recruiters do this for the joy of matchmaking the right job seeker with the right company and do it for the fulfillment, NOT the fee)

Here are three situations in which you SHOULD use a recruiter to help you with your search:

·     You have many years of experience in a specific field and are looking to transition to a career in that same field

·     You are new to a location and have experience in a field that you want to stay in, but do not know anyone in that field in your new location

·     You are a recent college graduate and looking for your first job

Here are three situations in which you should NOT use a recruiter to help you with your search:

·     You have many years of experience in one field and are looking to transition to an entirely different field (recruiters are paid a fee to find companies EXACTLY what they are looking for)

·     You have a really good network on your own and don’t need the help of a 3rd party

·     You are starting off your career without a degree and have no prior experience in the field you are looking to enter into

In general, an agency recruiter can be a great partner with you in your job search if you understand what a recruiter is and is not, and you understand the best circumstances in which to use a recruiter.

Click on the following link to hear my full interview with Jennifer Marcinkowski on when to use a recruiter and how a recruiter can help you with your search: http://latalkradio.com/content/getjob-111416%20#audio_play

Do you know how to “Future Talk” your way into your dream job?

One of my dear friends, Joey Primiani, who also happens to be a very successful entrepreneur, was just on my Podcast and shared with me how he “Future Talked” his way into his first job at Google.

So what is “Future Talking” and how can you use it to land the job of your dreams?

“Future Talking” is a concept that Joey and his friends in Silicon Valley use to turn their dreams into reality. The essence of “Future Talking” is that you have present tense conversations about dreams and goals that you have. Joey goes on to explain that you can even write “Future Talk” articles about yourself and share them with the people you trust.

He once wrote such article about himself that wound up being published (almost verbatim) less than two years later in TechCrunch. There are a few key components to mastering “Future Talking.”

The first component is to believe. Believing and trusting that what you are saying or writing about is true is easier said than done. Some people call it “faking it until you make it,” but to really be effective at “future talking,” you must believe that the words that are coming out of your mouth. This involves consciously choosing the thoughts you think, as well as the words you speak and only choosing empowering words and/or thoughts.

The second component is to live it. TAKE ACTION. I was just listening to the book “The Four Agreements” in my car the other day, and Don Miguel Ruiz, the author, says that the quickest way to break the disempowering agreements that you have is to take action. It is only with your ACTION multiplied by your INTENTION (what you are “future talking” about) that you will be able to see your dreams realized.

Finally, it is important to have a community that you can trust and “future talk” your ideas with. It is only when we feel safe and can make ourselves fully vulnerable, that we can “future talk” our dreams into reality.

If you remember to believe your words, take action and create a trusted community who you can “future talk” with, then you will be well on your way to the life of your dreams.

To hear the full LA Talk Radio Podcast interview with Joey Primiani, CLICK the link below:

I am a recovering @#$hole

Some people are uncomfortable with using the “@#$hole” word. In fact, I am not sure if I am allowed to use it, so let’s call me a jerk. Yes…it is true! For many of you who know me, you might be asking, how is this possible? You are one of the nicest people I know. Well guess what? I was not always this nice. The first 24 years of my life, I was definitely a bit of a jerk. You may think I am exaggerating, but if you ask anyone who met me during that time they would concur. Unfortunately, I grew up thinking I was smarter and better than everyone else I knew. I was rude to people. I was condescending. I was selfish. Now granted, there were moments where I was nice, but they were fleeting. You can imagine just how much fun it must have been to work with me during those years (to my old colleagues – I apologize!).

So what happened? What changed? I shifted my perspective. I was able to see myself through other people’s eyes and understand that it was not fun to be around me. Now, 10 years later, I am still a work in progress. Sometimes I feel like a painting that has to have white paint thrown all over it and be completely reinvented. I know that I have a dark side, yet I choose not to let it run me. Once I realized that I had been a jerk, I also realized that I had an opportunity to be responsible and not let “being a jerk” run me.

It came up today when one of my clients was explaining to me how “challenging” and “demanding” a particular attorney was. She mentioned that this particular attorney would be nice most of the time, but then send scathing emails that really upset the people with whom he worked. I took a deep breath and admitted I have been there, and was in fact, a recovering jerk myself. I have been the one writing most of those emails throughout my career, so I shared with my client how I could relate to the attorney’s frustrations. Even to this day, with all of the self development courses I have taken, I have still been known to send a hurtful email every now and again. The biggest difference is that now those emails happen much less frequently, and if and when I do send a hurtful email or say something hurtful, I typically take responsibility very quickly and apologize. Though the end goal is to not send the emails or say the hurtful things to begin with.

Why might you ask? Why would I still send these emails despite all of the transformative work that I have done? Ego. It all boils down to ego. When our ego is running the show, there is no stopping it. It takes over and makes sure that everyone else feels like an idiot and is put in their place. When I write these emails or say hurtful things, I look back and ask myself: Was that even me?

So what can you do once you have discovered that you have been complete jerk?

I will share with you, what I shared with my client:

Here are the 10 steps to take you from being a Judgemental, Egotistical, Rude  Killjoy to someone who is Accepting, Nurturing, Thoughtful, and Inspiring.

  • Step #1: Admit that you have been a JERK
  • Step #2: Understand that being a JERK is a choice
  • Step #3: Make a choice to be something other than a JERK
  • Step #4: Take a hard look at yourself and see what triggers you to become a JERK and be willing to do the work to stop from getting activated and start being proactive about the things that trigger you
  • Step #5: Admit to other people that you have been a JERK and ask them to help call you on it when you are in “JERK mode”
  • Step #6: Pick five people in your life and ask them, “What did you think of me when we first met? Where have I surprised you? Where have I disappointed you? What is your impression of me now?” Ask these same five people these questions every six months to check your progress. It is their job to tell you if you are still being a JERK
  • Step #7: Make a list of everyone you were a JERK to and make  amends with as many people as possible in person or over the phone and find out the cost and impact that your being a JERK had on them
  • Step #8: Work on yourself every day. Pick a perspective to come from each day that empowers you and those around you (i.e. gratitude, acceptance etc.)
  • Step #9: Find a mentor or a buddy to hold you accountable so that when you catch yourself wanting to fall back to becoming a real JERK you can call them for guidance
  • Step #10: If and when you become a JERK (which may still happen), take responsibilty, apologize and take inventory of what was misssing that made you fall back to being JERK

The next time someone is being a JERK, remind them how to be the ANTI-jerk.

For my whole story as a recovering @#$hole check out my Podcast on the Sam & Kelsey morning show (my part of the interview starts at about 11 minutes in:

How do you negotiate a raise in this market?

I have exciting news for anyone out there who is currently in the market for a new position. The market has flipped. That is right! For the first time in over eight years, the market has flipped from an “EMPLOYER” market to an “EMPLOYEE” market. So what does this mean for job seekers?

It is time to start thinking about negotiating that raise or promotion that you have been wanting. Between 2008-2015 most employees were clinging to jobs that they did not like and/or salaries that barely paid the bills. At of the end of 2015, things began to change. Suddenly, there were more jobs available than people who could fill them. This means that job seekers and employees have more negotiating power than they have had in years.

Though it is a good time to consider making a move and/or to negotiate a raise in your current role, you still have to bring conscientiousness to how you approach asking for the raise you want.

The three things that could kill your chances of negotiating the raise that you want are:

  1. Saying you “need” a raise because of personal reasons such as bills piling up.
  2. Playing hard ball and demanding a raise “or else” you will leave the company.
  3. Saying that it is “unfair” because so and so got a raise.


Anyone of the above mentioned tactics will only hurt your chances of negotiating the raise or promotion you desire. Rather than approaching getting a raise from an adversarial standpoint, you may want to consider taking a more gracious and proactive approach. One proactive method that I have found to be very impactful when negotating a raise or a promotion is approaching the negotiation like an attorney. What do I mean?

I mean that you could look at getting a raise like you are an attorney who is making a case for why his or her client should win. Except, you are actually making a case for why you are adding value to the company and will continue to do so.

How do you you make a case for where you add value?


Come up with evidence and examples of where you have increased “PEP” (productivity, efficiency and/or performance) within the organization. If you approach your manager from a perspective of gratitude and contribution, you will often get a more positive response.

Here are a few steps you can take to negotiate your next raise or promotion:

  1. Set up a good “ASK.” In other words, do not burst into your boss’s office demanding a raise. Rather, ask your boss (either in person or via email) when a good time to talk might be and request a specific amount of time to speak with him or her. The average amount of time this will take is about 15-30 minutes.
  2. Once you have scheduled a good time to speak with your boss, set aside at least thirty minutes to one hour to put together your case for why a raise is warranted.
  3. Review your accomplishments over the past year, three years or five years and come prepared to the meeting with 5-10 examples of your PEP (where you have increased productivity, efficiency and/or performance).
  4. During the conversation with your boss, begin by thanking them and telling them that you are happy that they were willing to meet with you. Start the conversation with what it is that you like or appreciate about working with your boss or the company.
  5. Highlight your specific results and accomplishments, including any occassions where you earned and/or save the company money (your PEP).
  6. Close your case by reiterrating your gratitude for your current role and your desire to continue to grow with and contribute to the organization.

If you use these six steps you will be well on your way to receiving the raise or promotion that you desire.

For a more in depth look at how to negotiate a raise or promotion, check out my Podcast with Sharon O’Donnell on LA Talk Radio:

How can you tell when your career has passed its expiration date?

In 2009 when the market first crashed, I remember being interviewed by ABC News in San Jose on Labor Day about what a job seeker should do after having been with a company for 10-20 years and then getting laid off?

The answer I gave them then, still holds true now. You have two choices:

1) You can spend 10 x the same amount of effort to get the same job back that you may have disliked or not been excited about.


2) You can find something that you are passionate about, reinvent yourself and spend that same energy pursuing something that brings you joy and happiness.

The first step to figuring out if it is time to reinvent yourself is to figure out if you are still passionate about your current career. One way that you can do this is by asking yourself the following question:

“On a scale of 1-10, 10 being the highest and 1 being the lowest, how would you rate your interest in returning to the field that you have been in?”

If you rate your interest at a 7 or lower, it might be time to start re-evaluating what it is you want to do with your life. If you do rate your interest in your career a 7 or lower, the next step is to make a list of the pros and cons of your career.

In order to be able to move forward to pursue your passion, you first have to take inventory of what you are good at and what you enjoy focusing your energy on. Was it the industry that you didn’t like? Was it the type of work? Was it the people you worked with? All of these things have to be given consideration when figuring out what is next.

I recommend taking a sheet of paper and putting a line down the middle. At the top of one column list “Duties/Skills I enjoy” and on the other side “Duties/Skills I dislike.”

Once you have a list of what you are good at end enjoy doing, you can then begin to work with a career coach to fine tune what jobs you would be best suited for. You can also use online career assessment tests (http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/JTypes2.asp) to help you narrow down what fields you should pursue. Another one of my favorite tools to use when reinventing yourself is to find 10 people who you admire in fields you are potentially interested in and interview them about what it is they like about their field.







Great “Juanism” from my favorite Sage

Day #166 of 365 days of gratitude: is grateful for her wise sage Juan (her parking attendant) who offers the most beautiful stories each week about life.

A perfect example is today’s story:

A man once spoke ill of his enemy and said so many bad things about him that one day that man lost his job and became homeless.

The man who spoke ill of his enemy felt so bad, that he went to the wisest man in the town and said “How do I undo what I have done?”

The wise man said: “Take a pillow full of feathers and go to the highest building that you can find and release the feathers. Then come back to me once you have done so.”

The man was so elated that it would be that easy and found the highest building and released the feathers.

When he went back to the wise man, he said “that was easy, thank you!”

The wise man said, “Wait, you are not done. Now you need to go across the town and pick up every feather and put it back in the pillow case.”

The man said: “That is impossible!”

The wise man said, “Yes, it is impossible, just like taking back the negative things you said about your enemy is impossible.”

The moral of this story is that you can never take back three things “Opportunities you have passed up, positive or negative things that you say and an arrow that you shoot.”

Choose your words wisely.

Thank you Juan for your sage stories that you share!

My Accidental Conan O’Brien “Appearance”

My accidental appearance on Conan


Jennifer K. Hill (the audience lady).


One might ask, how do you accidentally wind up on the Conan O’Brien show and then go on to have over 135,000 hits on YouTube? 

A charity auctioned off ticket to the Conan show and I won them.


I wanted to use them for a special occasion, so when my mother-in-law and her niece were visiting from out of town, I thought that would be a fun treat.  As I was rushing out of my office the day of the taping to pick them up, I decided to grab a copy of my book “Stop Hoping…Start Hunting! A Job Seeker’s Guide to Finding a Dream Job,” with me to the taping, thinking: “You never know!”


Book in purse, we arrived at the Burbank Warner Brothers lot where the show was being taped.


I started off sitting three seats in from the aisle and giving my mother-in-law the aisle seat so that she could have a good view. Ironically, right before the taping I was chatting with a man and his son, who was in college, and discussing my book and how with our minds, we can create anything we want for ourselves.


At this point, I was not in any way expecting to give Conan my book WHILE taping. Rather, I thought that it would be funny to sign a copy of my book to Conan saying “Good luck one day finding your dream job!” It was going to be a gag and I figured one of his PA’s could pass it along.


While waiting, my mother-in-law was doing reconnaissance and happened to chat with the closest PA and found out that Conan occasionally did bits involving the audience and would sometimes come up to our area of the audience, especially after the show. Upon finding this out she insisted that I take the isle seat “just in case.”


I now had my signed copy of my book next to me and ready to pass along to someone to give to Conan when it was convenient.  I asked the closest PA what the best way was to get it to him, and she confirmed that sometimes he would come into the audience after the show and if he did I could give it to him. She said if that didn’t happen she would pick it up from me and give it to him after the show. Good enough, right? Well…


About five minutes and fifty-five seconds into Conan’s show (I know because at first I had to tell my friends where to find it in the episode before they cut it out and put it on his homepage and YouTube) he began to tell a joke. The joke started: “Have you heard about this new iPhone app that teaches men how to orally please their women?”


Right about then, I started laughing uproariously. I mean, come on, that is funny! At that moment I could not have been more mortified when I saw the camera cut away from a stunned Conan to me. Of all of the things I wanted to be known for, the “Oral Sex App Audience Lady” was not on my top 100 List.  At first I didn’t even think anyone noticed and then Conan started interacting with me and I knew I could not just hide. At this point, it was still the furthest thing from my mind that I would be giving him a copy of my book on camera.


He then made fun of me, continued his joke and made fun of me some more. All along, I am turning beet red imagining the repercussions of people I knew seeing me laughing at the sex app joke (my clients tend to be conservative top 100 law firms).


Out of the blue, Conan holds out his arms and approaches my area of the audience to “hug it out” with me. I was so shocked, that I didn’t even realize that I still had the signed copy of my book in my hand to give to him until I saw it on camera behind him as he hugged me.


Well…if you cannot beat them, join them! At that moment I figured that I had already been made fun of on a major national network, and why the heck not give him a copy of my book right then and there. The PA had said if he came into the audience, that I could give it to him, right?


It could not have gone any better. I wish I could say that I strategized showing my book cover on his back, but that was just good luck. I then handed him the book and wished him luck on one day finding his dream job, but I think that we were both so surprised that he didn’t hear me the first time.


The rest is history. I got ripped a new one by Conan and Archie for giving him a book, but at the same time was touted as being a very “clever marketer.” Since the show aired I have received over 135,000 views on YouTube, 2600+ likes, and book sales from people who would have never otherwise known about my book.  I even have reviews now on Amazon from people who went out and bought my book saying things like “As seen on Conan.” I couldn’t not have asked for better publicity and am so glad that I happened to put an Outlook reminder up to use my Conan tickets. You never know what could happen if you just have an open mind and always bring a signed copy of your book

Career Poker for Recent Grads

I was recently asked by one of our team members whether or not it is a good idea for someone who has recently gotten their BA or BS to go back to school immediately for a JD/Masters/MBA program OR if they are better off to get some work/life experience before pursuing a higher education. This is a really good question that I have never been asked before and thought it would be worth blogging about.

Based on the series of articles I am doing on “career poker,” I realized that knowing how to play your “career poker” hand starts immediately after you graduate college. If you are someone who went to a top school for your undergraduate degree AND you graduated at the top of your class (ie. top 10% or higher), going back to school immediately following your graduation could be your best option because you already have momentum scholastically and will be more likely to be hired/recruited directly out of a Masters/MBA/JD program.
However…if you are someone who did not go to a top school and/or graduate at the top of your class, you are better off to get work experience/life experience to pad your resume to make your “career poker hand” more valuable in the long run. Someone who pursues a higher education directly after their undergraduate program will likely have a lot of competition coming out of school and will have a much harder time getting hired (unless this person has an incredible network-an incredible network increases your “hand” value and makes up for a lower GPA or a degree from a less reputable school).
In short (your GPA) X (the caliber of school you attended) X (your network) = the value of your hand and will determine whether or not you should pursue a higher degree immediately after getting your undergraduate degree completed.

Career Poker

How should you play your professional hand when it comes to career poker?

First you need to know what type of “hand” you are holding. 
For the sake of this example we are going to pretend that you are playing “Texas Holdem Career Poker” where you are dealt two cards with the potential to pair them with three other cards (the variables in the job market and the variables with the employers you are interviewing with are the “flop” or the other three cards that you can pair your cards with).
You can evaluate how good your hand is by your career history. 
In order to ascertain what your “hand” is, use this quiz below:
1) Are you currently employed?
 (give yourself 2 points for for this if you are currently employed in a full time position OR give yourself 1 point if you are currently working part-time or currently contracting)
2) Do you have recently stability/longevity on your resume?
(give yourself 1 point for every year of recent job stability that you have with your MOST RECENT position up to 5 points)
3) Do you have a Bachelors Degree or higher degree?
 (if so give yourself 1 point for a BA/BS OR 2 points for JD, MBA or PhD)
4) Do you have experience working for a Fortune 500 company or AM 100 law firm in a full time, permanent capacity?
(give yourself 1 point if the answer to this question is YES)
5) Are you at least intermediate to expert on all of the latest industry appropriate technology?
 (if YES then give yourself 1 point if intermediate or 2 points if expert)
Poker Scale-How strong are the two cards you hold in your career? 
0-2 points (unsuited 2, 10)
3-5 points (unsuited 5, 6)
6-8 points (suited 10, Jack)
9-10 points (pocket pair-non face card)
11+ points (pocket Aces or other pocket face card pair-leads to the best possible hand!)
Now that you know what type of hand you hold, how do you play it?
Stay tuned for future articles on how to play your professional hand…