On recruitment To end up in higher places, you'll have to have someone there to pull you up. For example, in a big company with lots of talented people, you can't just walk in and get a job. The recruiters have to take a look at you first and if you can win their hearts and minds, they will put you where you need to be. Luckily, there is a culture in young and fresh companies that talent is worth pursuing and treating well—your job is to work hard enough to get in that position. Don't worry too much about the immediate payoff. Value learning above all—if that means you're called an intern for the next year or five, that's okay. So long as you're learning and changing the way you work along the way. Who cares if you're a full time employee with salary and benefits? Yes, it might help you support a family and live a stable life later on, but if you want to do great work for the rest of your life you need to learn first. Allow yourself to be recruited and be selfish only in one respect: Make sure that wherever you go, you take every bit of knowledge that you can. Learning is the one thing that you can negotiate (silently) as much as you wish. You don't get to demand more money right out of the gate, but you can demand more learning by choosing to work for people at places that will teach you a lot.
On asking Though it can make life feel transactional, the best way to get what you want is to ask. First, I should caveat by saying that you shouldn't always get what you want. When I say you shouldn't be hesitant to make a request, I don't mean to say that you deserve it and asking is a mere tactic to get what you deserve. Quite the opposite—if you ask and don't get it, time and time again, you're not ready for what you want. Asking for a job is simply a way to test if you could get the job. If it's possible, you might get an interview and then get the job. But you'll never know unless you ask. Even if you are denied, you'll know that you have to go back to work and keep improving yourself until they can't help but hire you. It all starts with asking and being confident while you do it. Don't be discouraged at the outcome, either—you'll be back to ask again.