I recently caught up with an old friend, Ramit Sethi. Ramit is the author of the New York Times bestselling book, I Will Teach You To Be Rich. He also owns a blog called I Will Teach You To Be Rich, which receives over 250,000 readers per month. He co-founded PBwiki, a venture-backed startup and graduated from Stanford. He's been featured in several media outlets, including an extensive profile in Fortune Magazine.
Ramit is passionate about helping people better manage their finances and get their dreams jobs. His latest project is called the Find Your Dream Job program, where you can get specific tips on landing your dream job that will help you in months instead of years. He’s been helping people, like you, have successful interviews, get raises, and find what they love.
When you step into an interview, what's the first thing you should say?
Most people want a magical phrase that will clinch the interview for them and turn it into a job offer. But here's the surprising truth: 80% of the work is done before you ever set foot in the interview. Have you researched the exact needs of the hiring manager? Can you make a compelling case for why you're perfect for the job -- in 1-2 sentences? Do you have a personal relationship with anyone on the team?
99% of candidates do not, so they walk in and let chance determine their fate. But if you do the above things -- and anyone can -- you dramatically tilt the odds in your favor.
How do you prove the ROI on someone hiring you?
ROI is just one of the ways to persuade a hiring manager to hire you -- but it's also the most powerful. If you have direct experience with the work you'd be doing in this new job, show the hiring manager. (Notice I said "show," not "tell," meaning bring documents, results, and anything else that demonstrates how you will solve the hiring manager's problems.) One great way to do this is using the Briefcase Technique.
If you don't have direct experience, you can still use other tools to demonstrate why you're right for the job, including deeply understanding the company's needs and preparing more than anyone else.
What is your opinion on "free work"? Should you sacrifice your time to build a portfolio of work?
I'm a big fan of free work. It's helped me get jobs and opportunities I ordinarily never would have gotten. The two keys are: First, working for a person or organization that will open doors for you. This might mean they provide a testimonial, or refer you to others, or even hire you. Second, you have to be clear that you don't usually work for free. Here's the phrase to use: "Well, my normal rate is $50/hour, but I'm very interested in your project. Why don't we do this? I'll waive my normal fee for 2 weeks, and if I do an extraordinary job, we can talk about going to my normal rate." Without a phrase similar to this, you're asking to be taken advantage of.
Most people are horrible networkers. What would you recommend to them? There are a few pernicious myths about networking: People tell us to "talk to anyone" (Okay...where do we start?), yet they have no real guidance for what to say. Who are these people we're supposed to meet? Where do we find them? And why would they want to talk to us?
Yet it's also clear that networking is one of the most important things you can do for your career. Instead of blasting our business cards out to random people at "networking events," I recommend finding a few people who have done what you want to do (e.g., worked at the company you want to work for). Study them intensely by searching online and using LinkedIn to see how you're connected. It typically takes me 2-3 hours to do research on someone I want to meet before I email them -- but I usually get a 90%+ response rate. From there, take baby steps to build a relationship. I cover the exact steps -- including the exact email scripts to use -- in my Natural Networking blog post.
A lot of people are blasting out their resumes right now in hopes they will get a job. What would you say to them?
If you're sending out resume after resume, you've already lost. There's a game being played around you that you don't even realize. Top performers invest time up front to understand exactly which companies they want to target, then they relentlessly find warm connections to these companies through Natural Networking. (And yes, everyone has a network.) By the time they're ready to submit an application, it goes through a warm contact and is disproportionately likely to result in a job offer.
Compare this to people who send out resume after resume, hoping and praying that they'll get a job. It may feel productive, but when millions of other people are doing the same thing, you don't want to be playing that game.