Find Your Dream Job (Ramit Sethi): Summary & Review

find your dream job course by ramit sethi seen on an ipad-like device

Find Your Dream Job is a 10-module online course on job seeker power dynamics in which Ramit Sethi, the course teacher, makes the case that the most powerful way to negotiate for the job you want is through connections and competition.

find your dream job with ramit sethi

Bullet Summary

  • Playbook 1: Inside the Dream Job System (10 Lessons)
  • Playbook 2: Discover Your Dream Role (12 Lessons)
  • Playbook 3: Discover Your Dream Company (7 Lessons)
  • Playbook 4: Build a VIP Network (9 Lessons)
  • Playbook 5: The Perfect Resume & Cover Letter (10 Lessons)
  • Playbook 6: Land Multiple Interviews (7 Lessons)
  • Playbook 7: Perfect Interviewing: Get the Offer (10 Lessons)
  • Playbook 8: Negotiate Salary & Surprising Perks (10 Lessons)
  • Playbook 9: Hidden Perks At Your Current Job (4 Lessons)
  • Playbook 10: Remote Work & Virtual Interviews (6 Lessons)

Full Summary

About The Author
Ramit Sethi is a New York Times bestselling author and founder of Over 1,000,000 people read his material to learn how to use psychology and systems to live a Rich Life. That could mean automating your finances, making more money, finding your Dream Job, starting an online business, or mastering your inner psychology.

Playbook 1: Inside the Dream Job System

The five common mistakes job seekers make

First, are the five common mistakes job seekers make when they begin their job search process:

“Put yourself in the shoes of this average applicant. Let’s imagine they work in marketing. They like it – the work is fine, but it’s not particularly challenging. They feel stuck. And what’s worse? Their boss doesn’t really take them seriously, so they want to change. 

Can you guess the first place they go when they’re looking for a new job? Yep, you guessed it. A job search site, like Monster or Indeed. And they might even tell themselves, ‘Let’s just see what’s out there.’ 

But, they have no real plan. And this is mistake number one – going to a job board with no plan. 

Okay, let’s keep going. So this average applicant is on the job board, and proceeds to use the search function to type in their – wait, what are they doing? Are they typing in the exact same job position that they want to change out of? Seems like it. 

And in reality, this is mistake number two, sticking to what they know – and sometimes, what they hate. What if I told them that there are ten times more job titles that are way more relevant to them? What if they knew they needed to branch out to find their Dream Job? 

Most average applicants don’t know this – they don’t even know how to go about it, so they stick with the familiar.

And that brings us to mistake number three – taking what they can get. This one drives me crazy. This is where the average applicant now has endless options [populated by the online job board], and with so many available job openings, one of these should be gold, right? Maybe.”

Ramit Sethi recommends you take an “active” approach to searching for a new job. And, preaches that using a job site board is a passive job search approach.

Ramit: “Okay, let’s pause. Do you notice what’s happening? Here’s what I see. From the very beginning of the process they’ve delegated their job search to a computer algorithm. This algorithm is going to tell them where they’re going to spend eight hours a day, five times a week for the next ten years of their life. Think about that, let that sink in. You’re going to spend the next ten years of your life, and you’re letting a computer tell you where to go? No! You should love it, you should own the decision yourself – not let a computer tell you where to go.”

Now, those are the mistakes job seekers make when searching for a job. Let’s look at the mistakes they make when applying for a job.

“Let’s take a look. The average applicant has already identified a few jobs that look good. So here the process begins – they dust off the old resume. And then? The endless tweaking, the endless questions. 

‘Should I write, utilize, or use? What about font size? Ten or eleven? Should I stick with Arial? Hmm… What about that fancier-looking font?’ And they spent hours and hours on their resume, on the things that don’t really make a difference. 

And this is mistake number four – overemphasizing the things that just don’t matter. 

Back to the average applicant. Here’s where they submit the same resume, same cover letter to every company that they can find. 

No specific strategy, no rhyme or reason, other than hoping it’s going to work out. It’s just a numbers game to them, right? 

And this is mistake number five – shotgunning their applications into a black hole…

…And I have to tell you, I’ve seen so many promising job candidates start out optimistically, hopeful, but after sending two resumes, five resumes, 10 resumes, a dozen, and not getting back a single word or response from a real person? That deafening silence can make even the most qualified people doubt themselves.” 

Ramit says that this is where they begin to blame the economy.

The mindsets of top-performing job seekers

“The first [mindset of a top-performing job seeker] is to get proactive. Now we hear this a lot, but what does it actually mean? It means that Top Talent doesn’t wait for a dream job to fall from the sky. They don’t tell themselves, ‘I don’t know what I want; I guess I’ll wait. I guess I’ll know it when I see it. I’ll figure it out eventually.’ 

They certainly do not apply through some random job website, and then wait for a company to get back to them. No! 

So many people delegate their careers to recruiters, to job boards, to an algorithm. And if they don’t get any results, they shrug. Top Talent knows that they need to be deliberate, and take the responsibility of finding their dream job into their own hands. 

This is what the Dream Job system helps you do; take back control of every single part of your research. For example, you’ll figure out exactly what your Dream Job is. You’re not going to wait for a random quiz on the Internet that doesn’t understand you, to tell you.

You’ll be connecting with and talking with hiring managers directly, not firing off a resume and waiting. You’ll be in control of the interview, not passively answering questions [you go from simply answering, to taking the lead].

The second mindset shift of top talent is that they think about what other people want [WIIFT]. So many candidates only focus on what they want in a job, ‘I want rewarding work. I want to work from home and take Fridays off. I want to work with people I like.’ This is classic ‘I, I, I,’ syndrome…your future boss doesn’t care about what you want, they only want to know what you can do for them. And once you internalize this subtle reframe, your resume will stand out more, and you can make yourself that hiring manager’s number one choice.

And finally, the last mindset shift is to use competence triggers to show that you are Top Talent. Competence triggers are very subtle signals, like certain phrases, body language, and practices that signal to someone, ‘Wow, this is Top Talent. I need this person working for me.’”

Identify your Career Season

  • Growth: Most of us start in this season early in our careers, and some of us are still in it. In the growth season, we’re motivated by moving up the career ladder and making more money. We’re willing to put the time in and we don’t mind working hard. 
  • Lifestyle: Someone in this season still values their work and their career, but they have other equally important goals (e.g. travel, time with family, etc.)
  • Reinvention: The reinvention season typically describes people who want to totally reinvent their careers, usually by switching industries.

Playbook 2: Discover Your Dream Role

What Is A Dream Job?

“Together, your dream role and dream company will make up your Dream Job. 

The “Window Shopping Strategy”

“If you want to go forward with it, you can. And if not, put it right back on the shelf. This is what we call the Window Shopping Strategy. And finding your dream role is very similar. You see, when you’re walking past the windows of all of these job roles, they’re bound to be some job titles you just know, they’re not for you. Maybe they’re too advanced, maybe they’re too basic, maybe they’re just not interesting. That’s fine. Skip them, and others might catch your eye but as you go inside the store, or as you start to research a little bit more, you’re going to realize, ‘you know what? That’s not for me.’ Also, fine. But then you’re going to start to find gems; ones that really get you excited. And as you dig, as you do more research – in fact, as you do some Natural Networking and actually talk to people who have those roles, you might get more and more excited.”

  • Step 1: Upgrade to a Premium account on LinkedIn
  • Step 2: Browse the high-level list of industries. (Select one that sounds interesting to you.)
  • Step 3: Search for open jobs in those industries. (Go to and type in the industry you selected from the list.)
  • Step 4: Narrow your search by experience level. (At the top, click on Experience Level and select the appropriate level to further narrow your search.)
  • Step 5: “Window Shop” the results! (“Browse the results! Click on different job titles that sound interesting to you and browse the requirements. Simply ask yourself, ‘does this seem interesting to me?’ If it does, save the title and link in a tracking spreadsheet for later deep research. If nothing seems to be resonating with you, that’s okay. Take a step back and try something else — for example, jobs at a different experience level, or start over from scratch at the Industries List. The goal is not to find a perfect list right now, but a starting point.”)

Playbook 3: Discover Your Dream Company

The “Shadow Market” Jobs

“In our research, we found that as many as 80% of jobs are snatched up before they’re ever truly publicly advertised. And this is what we call the Shadow Market…And if you’re only looking on job boards, you’ll never even hear about these shadow market jobs. 

So now we know that there’s a whole game being played around us. How do we actually find those shadow market jobs? Well, there are two ways. 

Number one – your network. Have a strong network of people who are willing to help you. That’s exactly what Stephanie did, and that’s how she came to work here at IWT. Yes, this strategy is immensely powerful. And, yes, it’s a bit harder, takes a bit more time. But you don’t have to have gone to a top-tier school, or you don’t have to have interned for a CEO to have a network…

…Number two, going direct. This means getting in touch with employers you want to work for and pitching them directly. Sometimes it doesn’t matter if they aren’t advertising open positions – you don’t wait for them to do something, you go to them first.

This is a proactive strategy – it’s totally different from the usual passive strategy of waiting around for a job to come to you via a website. 

Remember that the best jobs are often taken before they are even advertised, okay? They happen behind closed doors. They happen with employees sending out a couple of emails to their friends. ‘Hey, we’re about to put this job up. You should know about it. Make sure you send me your resume. I’ll get it in front of the hiring manager.’ 

This is how many of the best jobs are actually filled very quickly. And most people don’t even know about this entire game being played around them.”

The Street Technique

  • Step 1: Select the industries you’re interested in.
  • Step 2: Search companies on Linkedln by industry. (Go to and type one of the industries you like into the search. Then, select Companies.)
  • Step 3: Combine companies with job roles. (Type in one of the Dream Roles you selected in Playbook 2 into the search along with the industries you are interested in.)
  • Step 4: Dig into their profiles. (Click on the profiles that pop up in your search and dig into them. What other companies have they worked at? What skills do they have? What does their career trajectory look like? What other roles did they have? By looking at their past experience you can find interesting companies that you may never have found on your own.)
  • Step 5: If the company sounds interesting, add the company name and website to your tracking spreadsheet. Aim for a list of at least five companies

Playbook 4: Build A VIP Network

The “Natural Networking” Framework

*Note: The following is a snapshot of the overarching process that Ramit Sethi teaches.

On finding experts, Ramit defines a “real expert” as anyone who has experience doing what you want to do.

It can be that:

  • “They had your Dream Job in the past — or have it right now!”
  • “They worked at your Dream Company — or worked there now.”
  • “They’re experienced in your industry.”

Ramit actually encourages his students to prioritize experts who used to work at your Dream Company because they’re more likely to tell the whole truth about their experience now that they’ve cut ties with the company.

Playbook 5: The Perfect Resume & Cover Letter

How to create your perfect resume

“Now, why is a narrative important? Well, let’s start off with what most resumes do. Most resumes are just lists of facts. They are guilty of the Classic, ‘I, I, I,’ Syndrome. ‘I did this. I did that. I want this. I’m this.’ 

Oh, [and] they believe that chronology is the most important thing. And that is a critical foundational mistake. 

People create their resumes and believe that the purpose of it is simply to list the chronology. ‘I worked here between these dates, here are a couple of things I did.’ 

You couldn’t be more wrong. Because if you do all those three things, you are simply hoping that the reader puts the pieces together, and that is what an average applicant does…

…Top talent answers the hiring manager’s top two questions…It’s relevant to that hiring manager, it’s specific and it’s targeted. And those two questions that I mentioned, here’s what top talent is always looking to answer. 

‘Who are you and what can you do for me [WIIFM]?’ That’s all that a hiring manager cares about when they’re looking at your resume. In other words, what is your narrative?”

The same mindsets can be applied when crafting your cover letter. So, as Ramit often recommends, it will pay off to do the work. The research of looking into your job and company, and knowing why they’re hiring will all pay off down the line. It’s important to know what exactly it is that your dream company needs help with so you can follow the WIIFT rule.

Playbook 6: Land Multiple Interviews

How top candidates “skip the line” to the interview

“We [often] walk into an unwinnable situation. We submit our resume through some random website, and then we wait. 

With hundreds, or thousands of other applicants. And we have a tiny shot at that job. And we rarely get it. 

The VIP application is a technique that lets you skip the entire H.R. process, which can take weeks or months, and go straight to the decision-makers. You get real feedback instead of automated rejection notices. 

If they don’t think you’re a good fit, a VIP will usually tell you why. 

And guess what? It’s actually what employers want. Here’s what the CEO of Cloudera wrote in his blog post, How to Get a Job at Cloudera. 

He said, ‘don’t just email us your resume… It’s much better to come by way of introduction from someone we already know. If one of them sends your name and resume along to a hiring manager, you can bet that it gets special attention.’

And once you know how to do this once, you can do it multiple times to pursue multiple interviews, which lets you evaluate your Dream Job – and even start a bidding war.”

The VIP application approach

“…the VIP application is another high competence trigger. It shows that you are discerning. See, many people apply through the front door and they just hope for the best. They’re not picky because they just want a job. But top performers are obsessed with finding the right fit, not just any job. So by taking the time to informally chat about fit, it shows that you’re not desperate, but rather you’re thinking critically about where you’d like to go, and how you’d like to add maximum value. Now, would I want somebody like that on my team? Absolutely.”

As I said above, Ramit believes that for a job seeker to have more power on their side, they need to have connections on their side. And, a part of being able to do that is to know who it is you’ll be connecting with in the company. Or, as Ramit puts it, you need to know who the players are.

“So, what is a VIP? Well, before we dig into the actual VIP application process, you need to know who the players are. So first you have the gatekeepers. This is typically HR and recruiters. Their job is to filter out the masses, and they’re very good at what they do. The problem is that they’ll often filter out good applicants along with the bad, and they’ll never tell you why. 

Next, you have the VIPs. These are hiring managers and executives. Their job, quite simply, is to find the best talent. And once they decide they want you, VIPs can move heaven and earth to make it happen, even after HR formally rejects you. So your role is to identify the VIPs, meet with them and show them why you would be perfect for that position. 

And finally, connectors. These are anyone who can put you in touch with a VIP, like an employee of the company, a former employee, a mutual friend, or anyone you meet in the course of your Natural Networking. 

Now, it’s important for you to know the dynamics of each of these players. It’s very different than the blank slate that most people send their resume into when they apply through the front door. And, as you can see, your goal is to ultimately connect with VIPs, although that may hopefully happen with the help of connectors. 

So, here’s what you do in the VIP application…at a high level, there are two steps. First, reach out to a VIP, ideally via an introduction. Second, meet with the VIP informally to see if there’s a fit… 

…Okay, let’s break down the two steps of the VIP application. Step one, reaching out to a VIP. If you recall, you want to be introduced by a connector, and this can be anyone who works or worked at your target company; former employee friend, Natural Networking contact. 

Now, if you’ve already spoken to them via Natural Networking, this is perfect. You can simply ask them for an introduction. If you haven’t already spoken to them via Natural Networking, this is your first step. And in that conversation, you can ask something like this, ‘Who do you think I should talk to if I were interested in a job at X, Y, Z company?’ That’s your VIP. 

Now, if they mention them by name, they likely know them. And if you’ve made a good impression by using high competence triggers, like being prepared and asking good questions, they will more likely than not be happy to make an introduction. 

I’d recommend waiting a few days after meeting with your connector and then sending them an email for an introduction.”

How to use the VIP application approach

(1) Find the players who are VIPs and Connectors at your Dream Company.

*Note: The following is a snapshot of the overarching guidelines that Ramit Sethi shares.

(2) Reach out to the relevant Connectors you find.

(3) At the meeting (be it a phone chat, in-person, or virtual) ask good questions.

(4) End the meeting while leaving the door open for future communication and/or collaboration.

(5) Follow up after the meeting. (If you’re interested in the position, ask for an email introduction to the person they recommended speaking to.)

(6) Connect with a VIP. (If necessary — if you’re unable to get an introduction — cold pitch a VIP.)

(7) When you connect with your VIP, meet with them.

(8) Follow the same steps as before to end the meeting.

*Note: The following is a snapshot of the overarching process that Ramit Sethi teaches for ending a meeting.

(9) If you got the interview, great! 

(10) Continue this process with the other Dream Companies on your list to get interviews with them (and, as a result, multiple interviews in your pipeline).

Playbook 7: Perfect Interviewing: Get the Offer

How top candidates “skip the line” to the interview

Here are the 3 steps to answering the interviewer’s questions smoothly:

  1. Ask yourself: “What are they really asking?”
  2. Find the Plain English Answer
  3. Polish to Perfection

Then all you need to do is practice, practice, practice!

Here’s an example:

Interviewer: “Why do you want to work here?.”

You: “I want to work at Acme for 3 key reasons: First, you’re doing amazing, life-changing work in the field of X. Second, I’m confident I can make a huge contribution given my experience in Y. 

And third, you have some of the smartest people in the world working for you. 

That last point in particular is a huge deal for me. You’ll notice I have a history of actively seeking out and working with the top people in my field, such as John Smith and Jane Doe, who really pushed me to accomplish Z. 

Bottom line, I thrive in environments filled with smart, ambitious people, and that’s why I’d love to be a part of the Acme team.”

Or, consider this all-too-common interview question:

Interviewer: “What’s your biggest weakness?.”

You: “My biggest weakness is that I’ve spent the majority of my career working for one company. In 

some ways, that can limit my perspective. Of course, I’ve worked in a variety of departments — and in fact I was promoted faster than anyone else to run XYZ — but I’m ready to take what I’ve learned to a different culture and industry, and that’s why I’m here.”

And, finally:

Interviewer: “Do you have any questions for me?.”

You: “So, do you like it here?”

As for that last one, the idea is to continue the frame of “I’m still a high-quality individual who’s still assessing whether I want to work with you or not”.

For comparison, Charlie Houpert over at Charisma On Command actually coaches his students to respond to that common interview question with something similar to this:

Interviewer: “Do you have any questions for me?.”

You: “So, obviously I’d like to get this job. But, when you’re thinking down the line, whether you hire me, whether you hire someone else, how will you know a year from now whether or not you made the right choice? What will that person had to have done to have been an excellent hire?”

And, that leaves Ramit’s suggested response closer to Lucio’s recommended response.

The Briefcase Technique

This is the briefcase technique (demonstrated in the first video). It’s a proposal that outlines:

  • What you’ve done
  • What you’re going to do

As far as the “what you’ve done”, Ramit recommends that you keep an updated list of all of the positive testimonials that you’ve received throughout your career. And, right here is a great place to use them.

The “what you’re going to do” is crucial because it’s a form of future value-signaling and, at the same time, leverages the potential bias recommended by Daniel Pink for negotiating for a raise.

“So here’s what to do: Come up with 5-10 ideas of things you’d like to accomplish in the next six months. They don’t have to be big, strategic business ideas — few bosses expect that, especially early in your career. Instead, ask yourself: What would your boss be delighted to hear you say?

Really think about this. Some potential examples:

  • ‘I’d like to have a bigger role in the X development cycle, and ideally manage the entire process from end to end within six months.’
  • ‘This year my team hit a 10% increase in sales. I’d like to hit 15% in the coming year.
  • ‘I’d like to keep doing X, but I’ve gotten efficient enough at it that I’d also like to start helping out with Y.’

And, you’re not even selling your ideas here, you’re selling your initiative

Once you set a collaborative frame, the details as far as each idea can be hashed out later.

An example of setting a collaborative frame in the interview would be, in a video interview, asking to share your screen and then showing a presentation (say, a PowerPoint) with your briefcase proposal. 

Then, have one of your slides say, “What I think you want,” which outlines what results you believe the company is looking for from you. And, let the following slide be titled, “What am I missing?” where you pause to ask the interviewer if you’re on the right track and invite their feedback. This is a textbook strategy from Daniel Pink called “pro-like pitching” applied to interviewing.

Playbook 8: Negotiate Salary & Surprising Perks

The “Natural Negotiation” Framework

Ramit recommends you realize that it’s normal to be afraid of negotiating. And, with that, he introduces his process:

“So here’s how to dramatically improve your negotiation game. Introducing the Advanced Negotiation Power Dynamics.

In this framework, you have three key points, and we’re going to go through each of them in detail.

The first is to know your leverage. In a negotiation, leverage is power and you have to know what you’re working with. Next, master your psychology. It’s critical that you walk in confident about your abilities, otherwise the hiring manager is going to sniff it out, and their goal is to get you for as low a price as they possibly can. That’s business.

And then the third is nailing the negotiation. This is the tactics of when you walk in and you have that conversation or you do it over the phone, you want to know exactly what you’re going to do.”

(1) Know your leverage (check the economy). 

“…leverage is power…When you walk into a salary negotiation, you are in a position of power, okay? 

You have to know that because they’ve already gone through a recruiting process among many other candidates and they’ve brought you in. They’ve made you an offer.

They’ve likely spent thousands of dollars already, in time, recruiting fees, tools, to bring you in. So you have to know that. 

Now the key here is that now that they’ve decided they want you, it’s simply a matter of details.

Okay, let me say that again because it’s so important. Now that they have decided they want you, it’s simply a matter of details. This is critical, okay?

Once you understand that and truly internalize that, then the negotiation part doesn’t become so existential, it’s merely, ‘Hey, let’s figure these details out.’ Great. We’ve both agreed we want to go to lunch. Okay, now it’s just a matter of where are we going to go? Simple…

…Now, when you walk in, knowing your leverage means you need to understand the state of the economy.

And I want to give you an analogy here. If you were going to go buy a house tomorrow. Would you expect to simply be able to go and give the absolute lowest price if there’s not a lot of houses on the market? No, because there’s something called supply and demand. So if there’s a seller’s market, that means there are lots of buyers, fewer houses. If it’s a buyer’s market, you’ve got tons of sellers and lots of houses. So think about that.

Depending on the state of the economy or something external to you, that can dramatically affect your ability to negotiate. In other words, if there is a recession or your industry has contracted, you might have low leverage.

If, on the other hand, you have an industry that’s booming, there’s not enough supply, there are not enough people out there, then you have high leverage.

And this is critical to know walking into your negotiation. So let me show you how that works. For a candidate’s market, that’s your market, the economy is good and there’s low unemployment.

What does this mean? It means that you can push, likely, for the top end of your salary range, or certainly the higher part of that range.

If, on the other hand, you have an employer’s market where the economy is bad and there’s high unemployment, then my suggestion to you is, be more flexible with your salary range and potentially less aggressive…

…There are times when it’s a candidate’s market. That’s when you have greater leverage. This is your opportunity to negotiate harder.

This happens during low unemployment when virtually all top performers are employed and there’s a tight labor market, okay?

…On the other hand, there are times where it’s an employer’s market. That’s where you have less power to negotiate. And that happens when there’s high unemployment, lots of people looking for jobs.

It makes a lot of sense, just think about the price of cranberries, right? If there’s a ton of supply, the price is going to go down. Labor markets respond accordingly.”

(1.1) Know your leverage (check the company).

“So, let’s also talk about the demands of the company, because that factors into your leverage. Again, we already talked about industry, what’s going on in the industry, but let’s now talk about the company itself.

If the company needs to hire, then you have higher leverage.

What do I mean by that? Maybe the company is moving into a strategic initiative. Maybe they simply need to create a mobile app.

Well, if that’s the case, then they are going to be willing to pay more. That’s what’s called ‘strategic.’

Strategic, if you really boil it down, means we’re willing to spend a ton of money because it is critical or existential to our existence.

So, how do you find out if your role or your potential project is important to the company?

Well, you’ve already done it. You’ve done it in Natural Networking, you’ve done it by reading the interviews of the CEO, and you can also look at how long they’ve been trying to hire for that position…

…So, you can’t control the economy, you can’t control the demands of the company, but you can control your own Dream Job process.

And that means you can get warm introductions. You can understand what the company’s looking for and make sure you position your experience accordingly.

And, of course, you can use the Briefcase Technique in your interview to blow them away and really impress them.”

By “position your experience accordingly”, Ramit is referring to removing any experience on your resume that doesn’t apply to the position you’re applying for. He recommends keeping your resume 1-2 pages max and having it contain the 20% of relevant information that will get the 80% of results (those results ideally being that the hiring manager views you as a top performer).

(2) Master your psychology (reframe your negative self-talk).

“‘I’m afraid they think I’m being too greedy.’ What if we reframe that to, ‘I deserve to negotiate’?

‘I’m lucky they’re even offering me a job.’ What if we reframe that to, ‘I deserve to get paid within this industry range’?

Or, ‘why would anyone hire me?’ If you’re really confident you can reframe this to, ‘this company is lucky to have me. I’m doing them a favor by negotiating my worth and delivering maximum value in this role.’”

Ramit notes, “Remember, this is not personal; it’s business.” And, I include that note because it feels like a great point similar to a note in Career University about managers leveraging the company’s mission as an excuse not to pay you what you’re worth (e.g. “Hey, come on, you know it’s not about the money here, it’s about the impact we’re making, etc., etc.). 

And, at the end of the day, all of that “mission” talk won’t prevent you from getting fired if they decide to let you go because it’s not personal; it’s always been business.

“It’s also important to recognize that one thing that helps your psychology almost more than anything else is to be in demand. Just think about this, close your eyes for a second.

Imagine that you were walking into a salary negotiation where this is your only offer, and you’ve been at it for three months or six months, and they make you an offer. How does it feel to negotiate for five, ten, fifteen thousand dollars more? It’s a little nerve-racking, isn’t it?

Now keep your eyes closed. Imagine you have three other job offers. How would it feel to negotiate your salary now?

…If you have another job offer on the table, it can be incredibly powerful to surface that information to the hiring manager. And I’ve done this in the past.

You can say something like this, ‘Look, I really want to work here, this is my top choice. But Company B has extended me an offer that’s significantly higher. What can we do about that?’

Now, I did this because I had multiple offers, and so I actually engineered bidding wars.”

This is why Ramit recommends getting interviews with multiple dream companies (see the VIP application process). It’s because by doing so, you can leverage what negotiation expert Herb Cohen refers to as the power of competition.

And, he also makes it clear that “you don’t have to tell them the name of Company B, they’re not entitled to know that. You also are not obligated to tell them what their offer was, although you can use that information if you like.”

As an added plus, in the course program, Ramit goes over how to time your applications so that as many job offers as possible come in at approximately the same time, so your negotiation power is as strong as possible.

(3) Nail the negotiation (the actual mechanics of the negotiation).

“Let’s talk about identifying your salary sweet spot, and this is basic table stakes for a salary negotiation. You need to know two numbers, your absolute minimum [your BATNA], which is the lowest you would consider, and your reasonable ideal, which is the most you could reasonably expect.

Now, when they give you the number, I want you to resist the urge to say, ‘Sounds great,’ no matter how happy you are to receive that offer.

When you get the offer, I want you to pause, take a deep breath, and I want you to say that number out loud. ‘$48,000. Hmm…’.

Think about whether you’re going to accept, like [if that number is] in green, or negotiate, like in yellow or red. 

Take 10 seconds if you need to. You can even say, ‘Would you mind giving me a minute to pull out my notes?’ Also, I should add, you should thank them. ‘Thank you so much, I appreciate that. Would you mind giving me a minute to pull out my notes?’

So, if you’re in the green, you can say something like this, ‘Thank you so much. I’m excited to begin. I think we have a really great fit here. I’d like some time to think it over, if that’s all right. When should I get back to you by?’

Great. Just give yourself some time, even if it’s a great number. 

If you’re in the yellow, you might say something like this, ‘First of all, thank you. I’m excited to begin and I think we’re in the same ballpark. I’d like to talk about the salary. From my research, it looks like the standard range is from 70 to 90K, and actually towards the higher end for someone with my qualifications. I’d like to discuss that range.’

And if you’re in the red, ‘First of all, thank you, I’m thrilled to be considered. I have to be honest, though, it looks like we are pretty far apart on salary. I’m really interested in the position, but from my research, et cetera, et cetera.’

At this point, Ramit says to stay quiet because if you begin rambling you’ll start giving away all your negotiating power.

(3.1) The Negotiation A.R.M.S. Technique.

“A.R.M.S.: Agree. Reframe. Make the case. And then shut the hell up.”


Hiring Manager: “It’s not within our budget.”

Most People: “Oh…sure okay, that sounds all right.”

What top performers do instead is negotiate by using this technique:

Hiring Manager: “It’s not within our budget.”

Top Performer(agrees) “I understand, of course – times are tough. And I agree that for an average candidate, the budget would definitely be a good place to start. (reframes) However, as I showed you in the interview process, I fully intend to make an above average contribution, and I think I’ve demonstrated a track record for doing that. (make the case) So I’d simply ask that the compensation reflect that (shut up).”

Ramit also goes over the art of strategic concessions in the negotiation and how to make sure you’re actually negotiating and not haggling. 

As far as haggling, an example is when, as the hiring manager for his company, IWT, Ramit says, “…I’m thinking to myself, you are haggling over $2,000 now for somebody that you’re going to work with day in and day out for the next two, three, four, five years. It’s not smart. So, I want you to remember your goal is not to extract the maximum amount of money, because you can extract every last dime, and you can leave a really bad taste in the mouth of your future teammate.”

(3.2) The Ladder of Negotiation Technique.

“Now, the ladder of negotiation is a guideline that you can use here, you can ask, for example, for your big request, like a salary increase, then you can do a small request, which might be an early performance review.”

In other words, when you’re negotiating, start with your big request first and then transition to your smaller ones.

This is great because, to a certain extent, it can leverage the contrast bias depending on what you’re asking for.

The rest of the course is simply icing on the cake, you’ve already got an overview of the meat and potatoes right here :).


  • Overfocuses on resource control, neglects the effectiveness of the social exchange

Ramit Sethi encourages his students to, when networking, ask their target connections (who are high-status VIPs) if they could “pick their brain”. He says that this is actually effective because it’s flattering for the receiver.

And, for those who are emotionally dependent on the approval, compliments, and flattery of others—all of those being emotional resources that can keep one dependent and under one’s control—it can be effective, yes. 

But, it’s not nearly as effective as showing a willingness to give back real value. If Ramit’s teachings and scripts here would have focused less on emotional resource control and more on gratitude, the “natural networking” playbooks could have been a lot more valuable to its students.

  • At times, misses key details

The “perfect interviewing” playbook doesn’t specify when to use the briefcase technique in the interview. It simply ignores the technique and then refers you to the resources section to craft your own, leaving you to guess when you should pull out your briefcase proposal at the actual interview stage.

Later, Ramit does a role-play where, when answering one of the interviewer’s questions, he begins talking about what he plans to do for the company, stops, and says, “Actually, can I just show you?” 

In my opinion, that’s great and would have been even better if it was in its respective playbook. 

  • Missed opportunities for added resources

When I started implementing his process for natural networking, I found myself reaching out to tens of VIPs and Connectors every week with no contact tracker to keep track of them all.

I ended up crafting my own which left me wishing it was included in the course because I had a feeling the IWT team could have crafted a better one. 

  • All templates are already filled out

I was expecting blank templates. Instead, I found that Ramit had pulled the exact resumes, cover letters, and briefcase proposals from students who had already succeeded in Dream Job. 

Sounds great, in theory, but makes it hard when you’re looking at templates that have zero overlap with your field of expertise, leaving you to guess what Ramit would recommend you write.

  • Had no references and contained unnecessary techniques instead

As much as this course referenced the works of some of the greatest social strategists, there were no references to be found anywhere in the resources, course videos, or other surrounding content. What you did find, were a couple of unnecessary techniques. An example is what Ramit coined the STHU technique—which means the “Shut The Hell Up” technique. 

Since STFU is already a thing, it felt like a lazy attempt at inflating the value of the course by saying, “Look how many added techniques we’re giving you here,” when the course is already wonderfully valuable without them. 

It makes sense that Ramit would do this since he offers a 12-month payment plan for the course and needs to convince people to stay. But, unfortunately, those weak plays actually devalued the course in my eyes.


  • The cons above contain nitpicking

Lucio said once, “If you don’t know yet, my rule of thumb is that the better a book/resource is, the deeper I go with my nitpicking.” And, this program was so good that the above cons were a case of exactly that, nitpicking.

  • The course lived up to its marketing

This course didn’t market itself as groundbreaking for the world of job seeking, but it did market itself as revolutionary for the lives of the people who join. And, I believe that this course is capable of creating career reinvention, growth, and everything in between.

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