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

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.







How can you tell if your current job is hurting your overall career?

How can you tell if your current job is hurting your overall career? When you think of your career as playing a hand of poker, sometimes you need to know when to fold so that you can win the overall game. Many of us play bad hands that we are dealt, which can hurt our chances of winning the game. 

An example would be taking a job outside of your niche area out of desperation (you can take a band-aid job to cover yourself financially while you look so long as you don’t get comfortable and stop looking for what you really want). If you spend too much time outside of your given field employers might become turned off by your background.

A majority of job seekers are afraid of change. Having this fear is the number one thing that can hurt your overall career trajectory. Fear holds us back and I see many people who stay in jobs past their “due date” and even take a counter offer to stay a job they were not happy with in the first place.

There are a few key signs to look out for that might indicate it is time to move positions/fold that hand that you are holding:

When you no longer believe in company mission and/or the people who are running a company. 

When waking up and going to work is a chore.

Working in a job/field that is unrelated to anything you are remotely interested in (such as example).

Working in a position that is not related to what you want to do in the future.

When people speak ill of your current employer/others don’t respect your current employer-this can hurt your career by association.

You have not had a raise or an opportunity for increase in over two years.

When you get comfortable and are not challenged, ie. when you are just doing a job for a paycheck, not because you are passionate about it.

When your boss does not talk to you about your long-term goals/you don’t have an opportunity to progress your career towards where you want to be.

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…

A Picture is Worth…

Social media is quickly becoming more and more accessible to employers to do their research on you before you even go in for an interview. Technically, employers are not “supposed” to check you out on your various social media sites, but let us be honest, they do!

One of the first things an employer will do when they get your resume is Google you. Depending on how unique your name is (people with unique names are much easier to locate) and how many social media sites you are on, the potential employer can find out a lot or a little about you that can help or hinder your job hunt.
If you have carefully set up your social media sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest etc…to reflect your brand (ie. what you want your employers to know about you), then you are golden. Having a well put together social media site with appropriate pictures and links can be a great tool to get an employer interested in you.
HOWEVER…if you have not carefully monitored your content including: pictures, posts, friends, groups and so forth, then you can be blown out of a position before you even have a chance to interview. 
Below are the top FIVE mistakes I have seen job seekers make on their social media sites while job hunting:
1) Listing inappropriate groups or hobbies on their profile such as Interests: S&M (yes! that did happen)
2) Posting political content in tweets or articles that could be taken out of context
3) Having an inappropriate profile picture or other accessible pictures that include things such as: too sexy of a photo, partial nudity, a drink in your hand, a substance in your hand, an inappropriate gesture etc…
4) Posts that include anything related to illegal behaviors or substances on ANY of your accessible social media sites
5) Thinking that a profile, profile pictures and/or a profile’s content is private when it is NOT!
Remember, when job hunting, what you put out there is available for the world to see. One measure to prevent this from happening is by putting your settings to PRIVATE on all of your social media sites, but even that does not guarantee that an employer will not see something they don’t like. The best rule of thumb that I can recommend is:
“DO NOT post anything that you would not want your grandmother to see”

Is December a good time to look for a job?

YES! Many people think that the holidays are the worst time of year to look for a position because everyone is on vacation and/or waiting for their holiday bonus. I have found the contrary to be true. Some of my best months as a recruiter have been in the months of November and December. I attribute this to not “giving up” around the holidays. By giving up, I am referring to the many job seekers and recruiters who give up because they think that it is a bad time of year to look for a new position. 

I find the opposite is true because so few people are looking that there is a much smaller and more select pool of candidates who are available to employers during this time, which actually makes it easier to find a job around the holidays. The employers are typically much more flexible about start date, salary etc… because of how hard it is to find good people around the holidays. If you are willing to be proactive and give up some of  your holiday parties, which are also a great excuse to get out of the office for an interview, the holidays can be your best ally for finding your next position.

Top 10 Ways to Get Blacklisted

  1. Refuse to test
  2. Complain about the application and/or refuse to fill out the application
  3. No show for an interview without being in communication
  4. Lie on your resume, on your application or during your interview
  5. Complain to HR or complain to company representatives about anything related to interview process
  6. Not respond to phone calls and be hard to reach/only respond via email or text
  7. Walk out on an interview
  8. Make unwanted advances/inappropriate conduct towards people in the office
  9. Yell or scream or cuss at your recruiter or company representative
  10. Contact a company directly about why they didn’t hire you and/or pester your recruiter or the company for feedback