How to Find Unlisted Jobs and Win Every Salary Negotiation

Ramit Sethi, the New York Times bestselling author of I Will Teach You To Be Rich, recently did an amazing Q&A session on how to land your dream job.
He has given Wise Bread permission to highlight his best answers to these popular job hunting questions:
  1. How do I find and land unadvertised jobs?
  2. How can I grow my network when I don't know anyone with connections?
  3. How do I explain a resume gap where I was a stay-at-home parent for 8 years?
  4. How do I negotiate my salary when they said it isn't negotiable?
  5. How can I get a job at a company with a strict GPA cut off?
  6. How can I find out during the interview if a company is a great place to work?
  7. How do I land my dream job in a declining industry?
  8. What is the best way to ask for a raise?

1. How do I find and land unadvertised jobs?

This is a great question because the best jobs are not advertised. They are often gone before they even reach the market. 

Constantly have your network find jobs for you

The most important thing is to find powerful mentors with great connections to find the dream jobs for you. Reach out to your network systematically. Let the people in your network know that you're looking for a job, and most importantly, exactly what kind of job you're looking for.

Your key network contacts are very busy people. Make sure you do your homework before contacting them. Know exactly what you want and communicate it succinctly. 

What if I don't have a network?

Some people might say they don't have a powerful network because they didn't go to a fancy school or came from a rich family. That is a poor excuse. Your network is a lot bigger than you think. They include:

  • friends and peers
  • older people
  • alumni from your college
  • people who used to work at the company you want to apply to

The last group is great because they are more likely to tell you the truth about the companies you want to work for.

2. How can I grow my network when I don't know anyone with connections?

Create friendships with people by helping them out and adding value to their lives. This way people will know that you are able to perform and deliver as an employee. How do you do this? Make sure people know you are dependable and reliable.

How do I get started?

Start with coffee shop meetings with people to ask for their advice. Follow up with them to let them know you utilized their advice then be sure to contact them from time to time to find out if there is anyway you can help them. Listen to people to find out what the challenges are in their lives, then try to help. Networking requires that you give in hopes that one day it may come back to you. At it's core, it is about helping someone else before you ask for anything in return.

Also, start reaching out to understand the lay of the land. Find people who work or worked at companies you are interested in and take them to coffee. Ask them for their advice, not a job. Doing this will help you find who you can help and who may be able to someday help you.

Isn't using your connections "cheating?"

It is important to cultivate relationships with the people you know because top performers know that the people around them help them.  If you've got an advantage, don't think twice about using it.

3. How do I approach the job search after being a stay-at-home mom for the last eight years?

One of the most important things about finding the job of your dreams is to differentiate between what to pay attention to and what not to pay attention to. You have to be able to focus on what is important to you right now. Right now what's important to you (and the hiring manager) is the fact that you are trying to get a job. 

How do you show the hiring manager you are worth hiring and get the job?

Do your research! Have a solid understanding of the potential job titles you are interested in as well as companies you are interested in. Then narrow it down to one job title at one company and do elaborate research. Take people to coffee and ask questions. Do research online. Know the challenges of the position and everything else about the it so when you sit down in front of a hiring manager you can talk about the position better than the hiring manager can. Demonstrating why your experience is incredible has more weight and relevancy than the fact that you were a stay-at-home mom. Focus on your research and the person you are trying to get a job from.

4. How do I negotiate my salary when they tell me the salary isn't flexible?

This is a classic scare tactic companies use because people are naive and terrified of negotiating. 

Why does a company tell you this?

If a company tells you this, chances are you did something wrong during the interview process. Average candidates put the company in control of their salary during the interview process by making it clear they have no other options, other offers, or maybe even telling the interviewer how much he or she was compensated before. It's game over before the negotiation process even starts.

Top performers set the stage in advance for salary negotiation because they say things like "at my last job I was very well compensated and I am certainly looking for compensation that is a good fit for me but I'm also looking for a better fit in terms of my values and what I want to do with my career." Subtle comments like this make an impression on the interviewer so that the interviewer knows when it's time to negotiate salary, it's game on.

How do you make your salary negotiable?

  • Have multiple offers. Do your job search with multiple companies and time the offers so that you can get a bidding war going.
  • Make it clear throughout your engagement with the company that you want to be evaluated on the value you bring to the company.

If you have already been told your salary is non-negotiable, how do you negotiate?

You have to make a case for why you should be given a higher salary. How do you do that?

  • Get comparable salaries from,, and
  • Show them why you are worth the money and why you deserve to be at the top range of the pay spectrum by talking about what you are planning to do with the company.

If this doesn't work because you were an average candidate and put yourself in a non-negotiation bind, make an agreement with the interviewer that if in six months you have done an extraordinary job for the company, they will revisit negotiating your salary. Make sure they put that in your contract. In your first 30 days at your job, ask the company what would constitute you doing an extraordinary job. Have them write it down and be ultra specific about things. Ask them for numbers, hit those numbers, then blow past them.  This will show you are a top performer and salvage your salary negotiation.

5. How can I get a job at a company with a strict GPA cut-off when I have a low GPA?

Unfortunately, you can't. It is better to focus your time and energy on jobs that are more appropriate for you than to go for the one in a million chance you might get a job despite your low GPA. If you excel at the jobs you do qualify for, you may be able to go back one day and apply for opportunities that are currently out of your reach.

6. How can I find out during the interview process of the company is a great place to work?

This is a great question because young people should focus on making better decisions about their career as opposed to how much money they are going to make. During the interview process it is important to find out if the company is a great place to work by doing your research. How do you do your research?

  • Use websites such as,, and to read reviews from current and former employees.
  • Use Google to search for reviews and interviews about what people are saying about the company.
  • After doing basic online research, reach out to people who work or have worked at the company, take them to coffee, and get their advice. People love talking to young people because young people are viewed as more innocent and they like to stay abreast of what young people are doing.

7. How do I land my dream job when it's in a declining industry?

This is a great question because many young people dream of working in a glamorous job such as media, journalism, or entertainment. Because these jobs are in such high demand and there are many people looking to fill these jobs, employees don't get paid a lot and many of the jobs are getting outsourced.

The bad news: You will be competing against hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of people for these jobs.

The good news: Many of these people are average (or even terrible) at what they do especially when it comes to their job search.

So how do you make it to the big leagues?

A lot of it boils down to luck. But you also need to get out there and talk to the people you admire. Find people who have your dream job, reach out to them or get a warm introduction to them, and ask them how they got to where they are. Give them a little background on yourself in regards to who you are and what your career aspirations are, then offer to meet them at their convenience to talk. Offer to take them to coffee or dinner at a restaurant of their choosing. Ask them for five minutes of their time so they can tell you what decisions they made to get where they are now.

The overall strategy: Don't be an average candidate.

Talk to the top people. If you can't get to someone in the top tier of your industry, go for the second or third tier and work your way up. Ask then what differentiates them from the rest of the people in their field, then try to do what they do.

8. What is the best way to ask for a raise?

Here are the five steps to follow to ask for a raise:

  • Find out what your boss wants. Make your boss look great. Does your boss want his boss to see the results of what's going on on your team? Or does he want to go home at 5pm to play golf?
  • Let your boss know you want a raise. Ask what it would take to get a raise and what ultimate success would look like to him or her.
  • Let your boss know you are working towards that. It is vital to tell your boss what you want and that you are gunning for it in a positive way.
  • Execute what it would take for you to get a raise and exceed what your boss wants.
  • Ask your boss to discuss your raise based on the fact that you have done what he or she has asked and more.

Keep in mind that there is one characteristic that will help you get a raise: having other options. If you have other job options available to you and you aren't getting your raise the second or third time you ask and you deserve it, follow the lead of other top performers and seek out your other options.

This is just small sample of Ramit's tips on how to land a dream job. He provides a lot more actionable advice in his free newsletter. For example, did you know that 93% of your job interview's success depends on nonverbal cues? Click here to get additional free job hunting advice from Ramit.


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