Land the Gig (Part 3): Expand the Pie

Written by Jenny BlakeThis post is brought to you by Wells Fargo. I’m a compensated contributor, but the thoughts and ideas are my own. pie

In Part One of this series we talked about how to prepare to land a gig with your ideal client or company. In Part Two, we covered tips for how to create mutually beneficial conversations and calm nerves while interviewing.

Once you both feel like there’s a potential fit, one last piece remains: how to sweeten the pot for both parties. Whether you are closing a deal or enrolling a new client, sweetening the pot isn’t just about the money. Negotiating, at its heart, is about understanding what both parties want to give and receive and how to come to an agreement that is a win for everyone.

Expanding the pie means not just dividing resources—who gets how much—but getting creative about brainstorming beyond obvious metrics, such as money. What are the monetary and non-monetary intangible benefits that you both offer moving forward?

1. Reframe Fears

One of the best things you can do to prepare is recall times you negotiated successfully:

  • What enabled you to have those tough conversations?
  • What gave you the courage to ask for what you want?  
  • How might those experiences translate to this upcoming conversation?
  • On combating the inevitable nerves that may arise, what would you advise a friend to do in your exact situation?
  • What is the worst that can happen? The best?

2. Sweeten the Pie

What are your priorities? Money isn’t everything, but it is one (usually primary) aspect to consider as part of your overall Priorities Pie. You can even draw a circle on a piece of paper and divide it into the following categories. How big would each slice be in terms of its importance?

  • Flexibility, such as work from home days; the ability to travel
  • Time off, vacation (some even build in precation - extra time off before starting the new gig)
  • Benefits like health insurance, parental leave, transportation, wellness programs, tuition reimbursement, and volunteer days
  • Job Responsibilities: tasks and activities that are most interesting to you

What else is a make-or-break as you consider this gig? What elements are must-haves, what are nice-to-have, and what are deal breakers? Revisit the Plan Your Next Career Move template to help with this assessment.

3. Creative Promotions: Beyond Titles and Money

Similar to the money conversation, if you are currently employed, remember that promotion isn’t everything either. Lateral moves and intangibles are often much more valuable. Things like:

  • Dream Resume Builders: Taking on a ten or twenty percent project with another team, or with a project directly related to your dream career. When I was at Google, I started working on a ten-percent project with my friend Becky to create a drop-in coaching program for Googlers. When a Career Development team formed 1.5 years later, I was perfectly positioned to interview (and land) the open role, even though I was much younger than they were anticipating for the role. I had also bolstered my case by attending coach training on nights and weekends on my own accord. Thanks to my manager and the company, I was allowed to work on a passion project with ten percent of my time, I was able to bolster my resume and create value in my career beyond my paycheck. That ten-percent project has since blossomed into one of my primary sources of income as a solopreneur!
  • Location Pivots: If there isn’t a promotion available on your team, you may be able to move up the life experience ladder by asking to work from another office in a city that excites you. This could be stateside or abroad.
  • Key Mentors: Sometimes a lateral move will expose you to a power mentor or manager within the company. Someone who you can learn immense amounts from through direct coaching and observation. Although I didn’t report directly to her (I was many layers down), I enjoyed working in Sheryl Sandberg’s organization while she was at Google. I learned a tremendous amount through observation alone, and the programs and priorities she shared with us every quarter.

What are some of the non-monetary benefits that you would like to aim for in the next year?

Resources to Plan What’s Next — Your First Few Months:

Now that you’ve successfully come to an agreement, don’t stop there! Envision what a successful first few months looks like with the resources below, accessible via Google Drive on mobile and desktop:

  • Professional Development Strategy: This template has three strategy areas: Your Vision (brainstorm about desired impact, what you want to do & have), The What (skills, knowledge, education, experience), and The How (quarterly benchmarks & resources).
  • Ideal Day Mad Lib: Fill-in-the-blanks in this fun document to articulate what your ideal day looks like. Bonus points: do one version for your WILD AND CRAZY vision, then do another for your ideal average day — what an energizing "regular" work-day might entail.
  • Time Tracker & Schedule Blocker: Especially great for those who are self-employed or have flexible schedules, the time tracker and schedule blocker template will help you analyze where your time is currently going and help put your ideal day plan into tangible weekly terms.

That wraps up our Land the Gig series! I wish you the best of luck with all of your visioning, interviewing, negotiating and ultimately landing the job or client of your wildest dreams. If you try any of these tactics, we’d love to hear how things go!

About Jenny

Jenny Blake Headshot - Author, Speaker, Career StrategistJenny Blake is the author of Life After College and the forthcoming book Pivot. She is a career and business strategist and an international speaker who helps smart people organize their brain, move beyond burnout, and build sustainable, dynamic careers they love. Jenny combines her love of technology with her superpower of simplifying complexity to help clients through big transitions — often to pivot in their career or launch a book, blog or business. Today you can find her here on this blog (in its 9th year!) and at, where she explores the intersection of mind, body and business. Follow her on Twitter @jenny_blake.