THG @SXSW: Salary Negotiation Secrets No One Ever Taught You

In preparation for next month’s SXSW Interactive, we’re profiling the Hired Guns who will be presenting. Up for today is Jim Hopkinson, the Salary Tutor, who will cover something very near and dear to our heart — getting paid what you deserve.

Salary Tutor: Become a Salary Negotiation Rockstar
Saturday, March 10, 12:30
Presenter: Jim Hopkinson

Your Twesume
(your resume in 140 characters or less):

I’m an author, speaker, and teacher on the subjects of new media, branding, and career development. Runner, sports fan, geek, city-dweller.

Why did you want to speak at SXSW?
I’ve attended SXSW the last three years, and have thrived off of the energy, the people, and learning about “what’s next.” I wanted the chance to give back to others. Since I love to speak and had something to talk about this year, I applied and got accepted.

Who’s your talk for? (Who do you want to show up?) 
I joke that my presentation is only for people who want to make more money at their jobs — anyone wanting to decrease their income should probably pass. While I feel that it will be beneficial for recent grads, entrepreneurs, and experienced professionals alike, probably the people with the most to gain are those in their 20s who are going for their second or third job.

What will people walk away learning from you? 
People will walk away with three things: 1) An overview of the latest job-market trends, 2) Useful salary negotiation tips based on FBI hostage negotiation techniques, and 3) A good laugh once they see a badass photo of me from high school leaning against a baby-blue 1975 Dodge Dart.

What do you hope you learn from your SXSW experience? 
I think it’s easy for people to get caught up in their own world throughout the year: in my case, living a very New York–centric lifestyle. The best part about the experience is going to Austin with an open mind, hearing new ideas and stories from people in Silicon Valley or San Antonio or Singapore, and by the end of the week starting to see a common thread emerge.

Any lessons learned from past years?
The #1 lesson is not to try and do too much. You can’t see every presentation and go to every party, so go for quality connections with great people. Oh, and when you hear a rumor that the Foo Fighters are playing a free show at a small venue, get in line immediately (still angry I only caught the last 15 minutes of their hour-long show last year).

Any inside skinny on Austin (especially its nightlife) that you’d like to share? 
My nightlife advice is the same as the previous question — there’s enough going on that you can find something good without waiting in line and then having a beer spilled on you. And if you forgo the nightlife scene completely, there’s a SXSW runner’s group that meets in the morning for a run along the river. Scenic views, and a great way to work off a hangover.

Any other panels that you’re especially looking forward to?
I start by filling out my schedule by attending panels of people that I know, and then try to hit all the keynotes and anything else that grabs my attention. When in doubt, I lean toward solo presenters vs. multi-person panels, since I feel you get more bang for your buck. Beyond that, I’ve learned not to try to organize too much — some days you’ll miss the one speech you really wanted to see (and later find out it stunk anyway), while the most rewarding ones can be a spur-of-the-moment decision that you duck into with no idea what to expect.

About this Gun

Jim Hopkinson

Jim Hopkinson

is an author, blogger, runner, and digital media guy living in New York City. Salary Tutor, his book about salary negotiation secrets, has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Yahoo Finance, and the New York Post. He hosts The Hopkinson Report, a podcast about new media, technology, branding, and helping people pursue their ideal career and lifestyle. His energetic approach has been called "audible caffeine." The former marketing director for, Jim teaches a social media class at NYU. Believing that every job-seeker should own their own domain name, Jim created, a step-by-step tutorial that shows how to create a website in 7 minutes.Follow @salarytutor.