Full Disclosure: Jumping the pay grades and finding jobs.

In this post, I’m going to teach you to jump pay grades like a high jumper, about salary negotiation, and why I love LinkedIn.

I don’t want to brag. I want to help you realize your potential, make smart decisions and get the job (and pay) you deserve!

This advice is through tech-colored glasses. I’ve always worked in tech, although you can adapt this to your industry.

*This is what works for me, but get creative and find other ways that work better for you! This is where you can get creative.*

We are in the digital age. Saying that, there are two things (maybe 3?) everyone needs:

  1. A Website (If you’re super techy, try a personal chatbot or even code your own website)
  2. A LinkedIn (or profile on popular/relevant career site)
  3. A killer resume and cover letter template

​Make sure you are always presenting your best self on the internet. Keep everything updated and don’t be afraid to get personal!

Website

…. If you’re in tech, code your own! If not, don’t worry, there’s tons of no code/low code website builders out there/portfolio pages. You can go the simple or detailed route.

See some of my favorite examples below:

LinkedIn

I’ve been recruited via LinkedIn more times than I can count, but what counts is that some of them have landed me amazing jobs.

Here are some LinkedIn Profile Tips:

  1. Have a good profile picture. Not too professional, or too relaxed.
  2. Make sure the skills listed are a balance of current skills (from experience) as well as where you want to go/developing skills. Only include skills you’d want to be hired for or do in your next job. Maybe you’re good at Email Marketing, but if that’s not what you want to do — exclude it!
  3. Keep it updated. Have media and work samples on there, and a link to your website/more samples.
  4. Get endorsements and recommendations.

Look up everyone who inspires you, and who work for your dream job/company. Add them as a connection — ask them for advice, learn from their profile, get involved!

Always say YES when you are headhunted. Even if you are happy in your job. Having a conversation, meeting someone new, and working on your interviewing skills are only going to help you. Keeping everything polished (your LinkedIn, resume and website) is key, and if it doesn’t work out, remember that it’s always good to practice your interviewing skills. You never know what may happen, but you can control your fate a little bit.

It also gives you more power when you are “content” in your current job and don’t need the job they want you in. :) You can be relaxed in the interview process, be yourself and be bold. Who knows, you may surprise yourself or them!

My Jobs Summary

I got my first job right after I graduated college (I did *paid internships all throughout college), I was working for a small non profit. It was ok pay for what it was, especially considering it was my first full time job out of college.

*I could go off on a tangent on this, but read an old post I wrote about the unpaid internship dilemma. tl;dr If possible, never work for free.

My second job, I was contacted by a recruiter on LinkedIn and decided to work for a Software Company. They asked me to apply for this new Community Manager position. What’s amazing is that I didn’t even really know what a Community Manager was, but it turns out:

I could not have found a better job for myself!

The recruiter knew me better than I knew myself! It turned out to be one of the best job types for my skill set, aptitude and passion. I flourished….and it came with something great:

My pay grade jumped 52%

Tech pays more (usually) than a non profit. Let’s be honest, but I also made sure I had the right skills listed on my profile and kept everything up to date.

After about a year in that job, completely happy and satisfied, I was headhunted on LinkedIn again. I didn’t even have to apply! It was amazing, because I hate applying for jobs. I said yes to the headhunter (recruited from connection) so, my Third job out of college, my pay jumped 70%.

My Fourth job out of college, my pay jumped 25% (recruited from friend/connection) and I got more responsibility.

My Fifth job out of college, I jumped another 30% (recruited from LinkedIn/Connection), got some great perks, and more responsibility. Granted, as I’ve been jumping, my title and responsibilities have usually grown as well. But not by anything that I couldn’t handle.

Between my first and fifth job out of college, (over the course of about 4 years) there has been a total salary increase of 285%, nearly three times as much as I made in my first role.

Edit: In my now sixth job out of college (~7+ years after college) I have had another salary increase: 62% over my 5th job. For a total salary increase of 725% from my first role.

I increased my salary over 700% in 7 years out of college.

This reads real easy, but there have been some horrible interview processes and bosses in between. People in tech may have had similar experiences, but for one of my jobs, I experienced the hardest interview yet. First, I had to do homework, which took a few hours. Then, I had 4 video call interviews with 3 different people. Then, when I went to their offices, I was interviewed for 6 hours and 7 people, straight! Then the next day, I had to give a (*surprise*) presentation in front of 3 people. I was not ready for that, but I am glad it happened, although exhausting. I did end up getting the job, and learned a lot along the way.

Although my interviews to date haven’t been that bad, they aren’t far off. Now, they all usually include homework, that you have to do unpaid. Note: Always ask to get paid for interview assignments! (some companies may, some won’t, but it’s always good to ask) Especially if you think they will find value from it and use it. Think of it as you being hired as a consultant! Sometimes the homework isn’t of value and more of a way to see how you think. In those cases, they may not want to pay you.

You can’t get a job from 1 interview anymore (and if you do, tread carefully). Those days are over.

I have been super lucky to have jumped in salary a lot with every new role. I hope that my career growth keeps following that trend. Now, I’ve usually always been the person to give away my range first. That helps me know if a job is worth my time or in my range. I make sure to always state a $10–15k ideal range (i.e. “I’d like 80,000–95,000”). Then, you can get creative with base vs. bonus incentives to reach your number or go beyond.

I always make sure I try to learn as much about the market as possible to try to “price” myself, as well as my expected costs of living and expenses. There are many factors to consider, and many great resources such as Glassdoor, Askamanager.org, talking to people, reading Robert Half’s salary guides, any guides your related industry comes out with and ww.humanworkplace.com. I always say: “this is my ideal range, but I am mostly looking for the right fit.” As a rule of thumb: prioritize the right fit for YOU vs. just the pay and $alary.

When you switch jobs and companies, your pay usually goes up. It’s harder to expect a big salary increase when looking to move internally, rather than externally. So if you can’t find what you are looking for internally, leverage it with an external opportunity, or just go externally!

My rate is slowing down but I’m happy to say it is still increasing nicely with every new opportunity. Now, I’m trying to balance job hopping and opportunities. I’m super content in my current job, and it would take a lot to make me jump from it. I’d also hope to stay with companies at least 2–5 years (or even more!) before jumping again.

Marketing yourself is so important and is a never ending process, as is your personal/professional growth. Always be reading, and focusing on where you want to go. Even if you don’t know the details, work on thing such as leadership, and emotional intelligence! Things every good company needs from a good employee. Make sure as you grow, your online presence does too. So be prepared to work hard, and pay attention to detail. But it’s worth it!

I wanted to show the power of switching jobs and pushing yourself in your 20’s. Be confident in the (tech) economy and don’t be afraid to jump from job to job in order to boost your salary.

To engage or ask questions, you can reach me on Twitter or on my blog.

Did you like this topic? I’m thinking of writing another related blog post on a few more topics:

  • Saving money during your high earning years
  • Titles: internal vs. external
  • The art of the job search -#’s game, cover letters, research, linkedin and stalking, networking — why that’s not fair…etc.
  • Doing internships during college so you don’t do them out of college.

Let me know if this is something of value!

Program Manager @ Google. I write stories around: Design, Community, Product, Sustainability, Philosophy, Work, Career.

Program Manager @ Google. I write stories around: Design, Community, Product, Sustainability, Philosophy, Work, Career.