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Job Search Strategies

Read through the Job Search Strategies listed below to learn how to coordinate your job search. It takes a concentrated effort to discover what you want to get out of a job and find a job that meets your personal requirements. Assessing your skills and how they can benefit you in the job search is an important step that will allow you to gain confidence and discover your true strengths. Once you are aware of what you want in a career, what the requirements are for that field, and how your skills match up with the requirements, you will be better prepared to apply for positions in that career and find success in future jobs. A successful job search strategy involves setting goals and sticking to them. If you want to send out ten resumes a week, then you need to know where to look to find the open positions. If you want to work for a specific company, then you need to make the right contacts and have persistence. An important factor is networking, or making contacts and cold calling, to find people who know about open positions in your field, what it takes to make it in the career, and how to impress hiring managers at specific companies.

You will learn that your resume is a tool that speaks for you and is often the factor that determines if you will receive a call for an interview. There are even more rules and tips for having a successful interview and follow-up. Did you know that you are supposed to dress professionally no matter how casual the company is and that you should send a thank-you note after every interview? By learning the do’s and don’ts of the job search, you can cut down the time it takes to find a rewarding job.

Follow these steps to give yourself the edge!

  1. Determine Your Career Objectives
  2. Develop a Strategy For Your Job Search
  3. Learn to Network and Market Yourself
  4. Create a Professional Resume-Get Your Foot in the Door!
  5. Have a Successful Interview and Follow-up

Step 1: Determine Your Career Objectives

1. Find out what the requirements are for a job in your prospective field

You can be as specific as you need to be. There may be general requirements that all employees in the field must possess, like knowledge of certain topics or procedures, and there may be requirements that come with a particular title or company, including proficiency in different software applications and previous experience. By doing the research on skills, qualifications, and knowledge that are necessary to obtain a job in your desired field, you will have a better sense of how to shape your resume and a greater perspective on whether or not it is the career path you want to take. You can also identify holes in your resume where you might need more experience; an education is only one part of the picture. Internships and volunteer work are great ways to get necessary or added experience. www.internjobs.com has a search engine and www.internships.com offers internship guides by region. Sometimes an internship can result in a full-time position if you prove your capabilities. If you are not currently employed during the job search you may need to take on a part-time or temporary position for financial support. Try to look for something flexible so you will have enough time to spend on the job search, go on interviews, and make contacts. The part-time work can help to broaden your skill set and qualifications, so look for something that will be relevant or resume-building. You will also have work history to talk about during an interview instead of large gaps in your resume. Stay on top of any changes in your field so your knowledge will be current when you apply for a job.

2. Analyze your skill set

It can be helpful and enlightening to sit down with a pen and paper and put into writing the skills you think you have mastered through your education, previous work experience, internships, volunteering, or extracurricular activities. You should also consider any major achievements and the personal attributes or skills that helped you to accomplish these objectives. Some skills can be intangible, like confidence and the ability to communicate well with others, and some may be very technical, like typing. Knowing the range of skills that you have acquired will be very useful in the resume writing process and during interviews, so keep both the written and mental list handy. You will be able to focus your job search based on what you have done and what tasks you know you can handle. Take a free assessment test and discover your strengths and best job matches.

3. Assess what is really important to have in a future job

Think about the things in a work environment that will be necessary or meaningful to you; it will guide your job search and determine which jobs you should apply for or accept. Many people consider monetary needs the most important consideration when looking for a job. Salary Calculators and Salary Surveys can reveal how much a certain position usually makes in different cities around the country. Visit Career Wizard, JobStar Central’s Salary Information page or Salary.com to see examples. You should also consider whether relocation is an option, and how much you will need to earn in another city to keep the same standard of living. See how far your current salary would go in another city. Another way to determine the minimum amount you would have to make to keep or improve your standard of living is by filling out a chart with all of your necessary and optional expenses. www.susanireland.com has a nice chart to help you determine your salary range.

The work environment you enter can also have a great impact on your enjoyment of the job and your productivity level. Does it matter if your place of work is pleasant and your coworkers are welcoming and team-oriented? Do you want to work only from home? Is the job aligned with your personal values? Will you develop the skills you need for now and the future? Will you be expected to accomplish various tasks daily, or will you work on long-term projects? Will you have to work nights and weekends? All of these things should be taken into account with the financial aspects of a job. You should choose a position that will provide enough stimulation or challenge, and allow for advancement in position or pay. A final thought on job compensation is that money is not the only thing for which you are working. You may be willing to take a cut in pay for better benefits. Medical, dental, and vision insurance for you and your family may be as essential as a paycheck. You should also consider if yearly raises, paid vacation and sick days, daycare, commuting expenses, retirement and 401 plans are essential or can be used as bargaining chips for accepting a lower salary.

4. Find out what certifications are available in your field

Obtaining a certification can be a great addition for your resume. However, they are not always an option for people in entry-level positions. Research which certifications are available and what the requirements are to take them. Some may entail sitting for an exam, becoming part of an organization, taking additional classes or training, or working in the field for a certain number of years. If you are unable to become certified in the area that you want now, keep it in mind for the future and make it a goal to become certified when you have met the requirements.

5. Find a career counselor

If you are unsure of how to proceed with setting goals and starting the career search, consider getting some professional help. For a fee, career counselors can give you guidance when transitioning to a new career or advancing in a current one. You can find help for the entire process; from setting up a strategy for your job search, creating a resume, learning to market and network yourself, to preparing for a winning interview.

The following links are for sites that specialize in career counseling:

How to find a career counselor

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Step 2: Develop a Strategy for Your Job Search

1. Discover where the jobs are located and which companies are hiring

Thorough research will be necessary in this stage of the job hunt. Knowing more about a company you are interested in will give you an edge on the competition. The career you choose to research and the jobs you apply for should align as closely as possible with your skill set, interests, and career objectives. By searching local listings in the paper and online you can familiarize yourself with the job market. Keep in mind that this is only one strategy, and that most jobs today are found through contacts and by actively networking (this will be discussed under Step 4 ). The larger the salary and the better the position, the more likely it is that you won’t find an online listing. If you are just starting, however, search engines like Monster.com and CareerBuilder.com are great for allowing you to search by job category, keywords, and location.

Professional associations’ membership directories, professional journals, newsletters, business directories, temp agencies, the local library, religious leaders, and even the telephone book are resources for locating companies in your field. You may also have an interest in a certain organization, and companies are listing jobs on their own websites in increasing numbers. You may be able to submit a resume electronically that the company can review and keep on file, even if they are not currently hiring. You can also use employment services run by local and state government, non-profit agencies, headhunters, or recruiters to help do some of the workload for you.

i-recruit.com has recruiting firms listed by specialty and location.

2. Set goals for yourself

By setting goals for yourself, you can feel a sense of accomplishment as you go through the job search process. Looking for a job is a full-time job in itself, and should be recognized as such. There are many factors that affect how long a job search will take. The economy, job availability in your field, your level of motivation and action, and the need for someone with your qualifications will help determine how long it takes to find a job. It is realistic to assume that many months may pass during the searching and interviewing phases. With today’s job market nothing is ever certain, but you should look at each day as a new opportunity. You can set up general or specific goals by using a handwritten list, calendar, or day planner. Your goals may involve how many employers you want to contact, how many people in the field you want to meet, how many job leads you want to find, how many resumes you would like to send out each day/week/month, or how you can plan to market yourself. It may seem like the more you can do the better, but remember that all of your inquiries, searches, resume mailings, or job postings should be purposeful and bring you closer to finding a job that you actually want.

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Step 3: Learn to Network and Market Yourself

1. How to Network (Surprise – You probably already do it!)

Networking is often considered the number one way to find a job and obtain an interview. Some companies would rather bring in a person that someone on their staff recommends for an interview before they go through the time and expense of paying for a classified ad, making multiple phone calls, and interviewing multiple people. You may be surprised to find that you know people who can give you information on unlisted job openings. They either work where you would like to work or know someone who works where you would like to work. It may be the person who sits next to you on your commute or the person in line behind you at the coffee shop. You never know when you may meet a potential contact, so always try to make a good first impression.

You can increase your odds of meeting contacts by talking regularly with your friends, neighbors, and former coworkers and by joining social groups, volunteer groups, and professional associations. Trade and professional organizations, as well as career fairs, are excellent ways to meet people working in the career you’re pursuing. You should find an organized way to keep track of the people you’ve spoken with and any leads you’ve acquired. You can also make goals for how many people you want to contact in a day or in a week. Keep in mind that anyone who offers his or her assistance has earned the right to ask for yours in the future. Thank you notes are a nice gesture to those who have given their time and advice. Also, any current coworkers who know about your job search should be held to confidentiality.

Another method of networking is to send your resume with a letter of inquiry to any companies for which you are interested in working. The letter should be very professional; you can use the standard letter or cover letter format. Address your letter to the Human Resources Director if you can find his or her name, or the equivalent person who would be in charge of hiring in your field of expertise. State what your interest is in the company and why you would like to work there. Do your research so that you sound familiar with their business. You can ask for your resume to be kept on file for future job openings if there are none available at the present. There may be a position open that you can interview for, but if you receive a letter of decline, call to thank the hiring manager for their time and consideration. While on the phone, ask politely if they know one or two people you could contact. You might be surprised that you can find additional contacts this way. If you make a good impression on the phone, the hiring manager may keep you in mind for future jobs. If they are unwilling to give you an interview or contacts, they may consent to an informational interview for you to ask questions about the career and what hiring managers are looking for in candidates.

2. Use the Internet to your advantage

Online discussion boards can be a great way to meet potential contacts. Mailing lists, community forums, and chat rooms can be found on various websites, like:

or through Internet Service Providers like AOL and MSN. You can post questions for others to answer or try to make contacts with others using the discussion boards and chat rooms, although it is always better to direct your inquiries at specific people instead of the general group. If you are able to get a person’s contact information or email address, you should let them know how you found their name (through a mutual acquaintance, on a website, etc.), how you think they might be able to help you (they work in the field you want to work in or at the company you want to work for), and ask them for more information. Make the email personal, yet professional, and send it to their email instead of posting on a discussion board. Refrain from sending anyone your resume. At this point you are trying to find information and gain their trust. It does not hurt to try contacting as many people as possible; you can continue emailing those who prove to be informative and helpful.

3. Market yourself to prospective employers

All of the brainstorming you did on companies you would like to work for and how your skill set would be valuable to those companies comes into play with marketing. Marketing is the same thing as “selling” yourself to a potential company or hiring manager. Before you enter the resume writing and interviewing stages, you should learn the essentials of marketing yourself. You can greatly improve your chances of success if you learn to use words and phrases that set your skills, abilities, and accomplishments apart from the other candidates. Try to think of at least one thing that might make you unique or set you apart from others, as long as it is something that would benefit the employer. It sounds much better to say that you were able to surpass sales quotas, using specific numbers or percentages for examples, and express how that positively affected your company’s bottom line, then to simply say that you met or exceeded your goals. Don’t simply mention that you can work well independently or in groups, give examples of times when you did and how you had a positive impact.

It can work to your advantage to use examples of how you were successful in past jobs. Some interviewers will even ask you to describe your greatest challenges and accomplishments. It is better to think about the specifics now so you will feel more comfortable speaking or writing about them. You also need to seriously think about where you see yourself going with the positions you are seeking. Interviewers will also ask where you see yourself in five to ten years. Do you want to get promoted and move up the ladder? Do you want to continuously gain insight in the field so you can expand your responsibilities? Do you want to take more training or go back to school so you can be a larger asset to your employer? These are questions that you should ask yourself before you enter a job, not just to prove to employers that you are right for the job, but also to prove it to yourself. The most important thing to remember is that you can be a valuable asset and you can convey your value to interviewers.

If you set up any informational interviews through networking, researched potential companies and employers, or did any research on the trends in your field (the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook is a good source for this information: www.bls.gov) then you should be at a good starting point to brainstorm ways to market yourself. Suppose that you did research on a company and found out that they were in the process of downsizing. This is a good opportunity to explore how you could benefit the company by staying within budget and helping their bottom line. If the company is expanding by using new technologies or opening in new locations, you can eagerly explain that you would like to be trained and that you would be willing to travel to the new locations to train others.

The final step in marketing is to evaluate the package that you are presenting. Are you being invited for interviews? Do you feel that you are making a good impression? Are you answering questions in a relaxed and confident manner? It is in your best interest to practice for phone interviews and live interviews with a friend to rehearse the points you want to get across. If there are areas that need improvement, then now is the time to work on them. You don’t want to leave your next interview with any regrets.

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Step 4: Create a Professional Resume – Get Your Foot in the Door!

1. Discover how to tailor your resume for individual companies and positions

Most employers prefer a resume that is tailored to the job opening. They want to know that you have done your research and really care about the company and position. The resume can be one of your best marketing devices, and few jobs can be won by a sub-par resume. It is an extension of you that the employer gets to see before ever meeting you. It will hopefully lead to an interview if it is successfully written and arranged. The employer will likely spend mere seconds (about 30) scanning each resume, and needs to be drawn to and interested in the person you present on paper. You need to sell yourself through your skills, knowledge, and experience.

If you do have experience related to the job you are applying for, you may consider a Chronological Format. Education and work experience are listed in reverse chronological order. For someone whose degree or experiences do not match with exactly what an employer is seeking, a Functional Format may be most useful. You can place your job experiences and skills under one heading while listing titles, employers, and dates of employment separately. When discussing previous work experience, don’t just list your responsibilities. Make sure to refer to your list of skills and accomplishments here; any activities that you were in charge of or a part of that resulted in growth for your company will be more impressive than routine responsibilities. Just remember to steer clear of exaggerations or outright lies about your abilities. Present your accomplishments using powerful action verbs like achieved, completed, established, improved, launched, organized, planned, prepared, succeeded, transformed, etc.

Your resume should be organized into sections of importance, including a clearly defined career objective, education, work experience, skills summary, awards and honors, and activities. The career objective is an often-overlooked part of the resume that can really help capture a future employer’s attention. Don’t be vague; you need to have a clear grasp of what you are looking for in a job and it should relate to the job for which you are applying. Your educational experience can include career courses, college or university credits, seminars, night and summer school. You should list any degrees, diplomas, or certificates obtained, the month and year of graduation, the name and location of the school attended, and a grade point average or cumulative average (as long as it is higher than a 3.0 or a B or better). Any specific classes that might be helpful to the position can also be listed.

At the end of most resumes is a reference section. It is typically acceptable to write “References available upon request,” unless the job listing specifically asks to include references. You should create a separate page for references, listing at least three or four, which you can bring to an interview. Most companies have their own job applications that candidates fill out when they attend an interview. Hiring managers will either ask for your list of references at an interview or ask you to list them on the job application. All of your references should be aware that they may be called on your behalf, and you should give the most convenient phone number to reach them. Even a successful interview can be lost to poor references. Choose your references wisely; they should have intimate knowledge of your capabilities and previous accomplishments and understand why you are a great candidate for the job you want.

2. Write a winning cover letter

You should use your cover letter to highlight your greatest attributes and accomplishments. These should directly relate to the requirements set forth in the classified ad, or should fit well with the job title if you found the job through other sources. You want to state the position you are applying for and how you learned of that position. If you are applying to a company who has not advertised an open position, do your research to find out what job you want to focus on for your cover letter, because you should never sound desperate to take any position. After the introductory paragraph, you can stick with a paragraph format, or use bullet points to quickly list your qualifications for the position.

It is always better to direct your letter to the person in charge of hiring or interviewing. If his or her name is not listed in the advertisement, you can usually call the office to obtain the correct name. If the ad only lists an email address or fax number, you can use a specific title instead. In cases where you are unable to find useful information on the interviewer, you may choose to drop the “Dear…” greeting altogether. Use the designation Ms. for a woman if you are unsure if she is married or single.

Other rules to follow for cover letter writing include staying within one page, refraining from overuse of the word “I”, and maintaining a positive voice. Include the best way that you can be reached (for example: at the phone number included on your resume) and indicate that you will follow up to discuss setting up an interview. Thank the reader for their time and consideration. When you read over your cover letter, see if it’s interesting enough to hold the reader’s attention and make them want to meet you in person.

3. Check your work

After you’ve written your cover letter and resume…check, check, check, and check it again. Don’t assume that spell check will be able to pick up every error. You should let at least one other person read over your work to look for misspellings and bad grammar. Make sure that the resume is long enough to cover all of your important accomplishments, education and job experience, but short enough to fit on a page to a page-and-a-half. Nothing on your resume should appear in font smaller than size 12. Once you’re certain that you have a final version, print it on high quality resume paper. Never use colored paper; stick to white or off-white. Most resumes are photocopied to distribute to managers or Human Resources personnel, and colored paper does not copy well.

If you have to send the resume via email, you can make your cover letter the body of the email and attach the resume, or include both in one email. Save your cover letter and resume in “text only” and remove any indentations once you have copied and pasted into the body of the email. If indentations are required, use the space bar instead of the tab key. Attachments should be done in MS Word or saved as a PDF file in Adobe Acrobat Writer. Most companies will not open attachments for fear of computer viruses, so work in the body of the email unless they specify otherwise. You may consider paring your cover letter down to one or two paragraphs for the email and including only the essential information (the job you are applying for and how you found out about it). Use a simple font, like Times New Roman, and avoid any fancy fonts, borders, or symbols. Stick to dashes instead of bullets. As long as the text is 12-point font, it should give you between 60 and 65 character per line, which is desirable for an email. Try sending the email to a friend, so you can see if there are any formatting problems in the transmission.

To see examples of resumes and cover letters go to: jobsearchtech.about.com

4. Create a Professional Portfolio

A nice way to expand on your resume is with a professional portfolio. You may have things of great value to display in a portfolio that you would not have room to touch upon in a resume. This can provide tangible proof of your educational experience and show examples of work that you are capable of doing. The items that you include work best when they carry relevance for the job you are seeking. You can include a copy of your resume, transcripts, paperwork showing membership in a professional association, certificates, awards, letters of reference, and work samples like written documents from school or a previous job (as long as the samples don’t breach confidentiality). You can expand on your transcript by creating a list of relevant courses with descriptions of what each course covered.

You should purchase a professional binder and sheet protectors for displaying your items. Arrange them into sections according to what you have included, and divide the sections using title pages or tabs. A table of contents will help with organization. If you have extensive job experience, you may want to group your work by job. Limit yourself to ten pages and fifteen at most to give an interviewer a manageable amount to view. You should try to make the portfolio as organized as possible so an interviewer can look through it quickly, without any explanations necessary. Add captions to any work that needs a description. Update your portfolio as often as necessary to add materials that show how you have grown in your field and remove items that don’t showcase your relevant talents.

The pieces you include will expand what hiring managers know about you from your resume and help to sell them your skills and abilities. You should practice speaking about the items in your portfolio so you become comfortable utilizing them to show your strengths. When you are in an interview, you can use the portfolio to help you answer questions and offer proof of your abilities. Some interviewers may be unfamiliar with the concept of a professional portfolio. You can bring it into the conversation by using it to help illustrate the answer to a question about your skills or accomplishments. It might be nice to mention in your cover letter that you developed a professional portfolio to highlight your strengths and proficiencies.

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Step 5: Have a Successful Interview and Follow-up

1. The phone interview

You are at home and suddenly the phone rings. You may not be expecting it, but you should prepare for a potential employer to call once you submit a resume. The first step that hiring managers take is usually to speak with the candidate over the phone to determine if they sound articulate, friendly, and polite. They may ask a few questions about your resume or why you applied for the position. Hopefully you already know the answers to these questions from your self-evaluation and marketing brainstorming. Answer all the questions calmly and thoughtfully. It is helpful if you always have a copy of your resume handy; by the phone is most useful. You should also turn off all background noise, such as TV or stereo distractions. Never ask if you can answer your call waiting or start talking to other people in the room. Grab a notepad for taking any notes or setting up an interview time.

You may be asked if you have any questions about the position. This is not usually the time to talk about money. Interviewers often wait until the physical interview or even a second interview to let you know what the exact pay and benefits will be. If the job advertisement was vague, you can ask for more clarification about the job responsibilities to help you decide if you want to continue pursuing employment. Showing a little enthusiasm doesn’t hurt (“That sounds exactly like the type of job where my skills will be most useful.”). If you impressed the interviewer and they want to learn more about you, they will probably set up a time and place for the physical interview at the end of the conversation.

2. Preparing for the interview

There are several tools that you can use to make the interview process run smoothly. Just like the night before a big exam, you should get plenty of sleep and wake up to a good breakfast. Don’t go into an interview on an empty stomach or a full bladder, because chances are that you will be there for a while. Make sure that you have plenty of time in your schedule for the interview; you won’t be able to leave the interview for another appointment. You should also allow for plenty of time to get to the interview in case of a traffic jam or if you have trouble finding parking. Be certain of your destination. If you are traveling a long distance you can carry a map or do a search for directions on MapQuest. If the interview is close, you may want to take time to drive past on the day before.

Have several copies of your resume at hand, in case you meet with multiple people, and a copy of your references. You will probably need to fill out additional paperwork that asks for the information supplied in your resume and for your references. Having this information handy will allow you to fill these papers out quickly and accurately.

Your appearance is of critical importance on the day of the interview. Professional attire is a must for all interviews, even at a casual work setting. A two-piece suit in one color is the most preferred. If it is a casual setting, a sweater set with nice slacks for women or a shirt and tie for men works well. People usually focus on hair, hands, and shoes when they first meet someone. Either invest in a new pair of shoes to go with your suit, wear the nicest shoes you already own, or polish an older pair so they look new. Keeping your hair and nails neatly groomed also makes a positive first impression. Women should never wear excessive jewelry, heavy makeup, or a strongly scented perfume.

3. Rules to follow in an interview

The interview is your true chance to shine. You are able to speak about a lot of points that may not be covered or expanded upon in your resume. There will be a give and take of information between you and the interviewer. You will be asked to provide additional information about your previous work and educational experiences; not just facts, but reflections on your personality and ability to work with others. In return, the interviewer should thoroughly explain the responsibilities of the position to you, as well as the corporate climate and mission statement.

The first person you meet may have a say in your future at the company, and it’s not the employer! Be polite to and respectful of the receptionist; he or she can share their opinion of you with the interviewer once you’re gone. When introduced to the interviewer, shake his/her hand firmly (but not too hard!) once he/she offers it. A good handshake, coupled with a smile, makes the best first impression. Most likely, you will be lead to a private meeting room or office to conduct the interview. The interviewer will direct you to where you may have a seat. You must focus on their words from this point on, and maintain good eye contact without staring.

As previously discussed, you may be asked questions like “Where do you see yourself in five to ten years?”, “Why are you interested in this position or this company?”, “What was your greatest accomplishment?”, and “What are your strengths?” You might also be asked about a time when you had to use common sense, the hardest challenge you’ve overcome, your greatest weakness, and how you dealt with making mistakes. An interviewer may ask you to work through a hypothetical situation to find out how you react to challenges. There’s always the open-ended “Tell me about yourself” to which you should have a short list of the important facts, mainly what you have done that makes you right for the position.

Any of these questions require direct and honest answers. Even though you need to think through the answers ahead of time, don’t prepare a speech. Your answers need to flow naturally and not sound rehearsed. Don’t ramble on if you can get to the point quickly, and avoid using the fillers “like” and “um.” It’s also not impressive to say that your greatest weakness is demanding perfection; this will make you seem too intense, inflexible, or in denial. Another mistake to avoid is sharing private, marital, or financial problems with the interviewer. You should be able to leave your problems at home and focus on the job.

When asked about previous jobs, stick to unbiased facts about your responsibilities instead of opinions about former coworkers or employers. If the job wasn’t meeting your professional goals and helping you to develop and expand your skills, then that is a suitable reason for leaving. You would be horrified to speak poorly of a coworker or employee and find that the interviewer knows them. They will also take your negativity as a sign of the way you look at the world and wonder how you will look at this job and the other employees. Working well with others, no matter how you feel about them personally, is a very important skill to possess.

Some companies are now requiring assessment tests as a way to help them through the hiring process. They want to know just as much about your behaviors, attitude, and personality as they do about your skills and experience. By administering an assessment test, they can learn how you make decisions and relate to fellow coworkers. Be aware that you may be asked to take a test like this, or even a skills assessment test. With a skills assessment test, you may be required to demonstrate your typing or letter writing abilities, or some other skill required for the job. These tests give the company a better idea about how you will fit into their team, and may help in making a decision between two equally qualified candidates.

The salary negotiation can be a tricky part of the interview process. Allow the interviewer to approach the subject first. They will usually give an offer, but may ask you if you have a figure in mind. If you did your homework, you should know an appropriate salary range for the type of work you want to do. You can say that you expect pay that is competitive for someone in that position. If you are just starting in the field, you can expect to be at the lower end of the spectrum, with the promise of advancement for time with the company or quality of work produced. If you are making a lateral move (to a similar position) at another company, you can expect similar pay. If you are looking at moving to another city or state, you have to factor in the inflation or deflation rate of salaries based on cost of living. If the offer is too low, consider other benefits that the job provides, like paid vacation and heath care. It is acceptable to negotiate salary if the offer they provide is under the typical pay for that position. You don’t want to appear desperate and allow them to underpay you by saying yes to a poor offer. If the offer is exactly what you wanted, make sure you get it in writing. If you need time to think about the entire job package, ask if you can have until the next day to think about everything, and find out the best time to contact the interviewer.

You will have the opportunity to ask any additional questions at the end of an interview. If you still don’t know the specific responsibilities involved with the job, you will want to ask now. You may want to inquire about performance reviews; how often will they occur and how will they measure your performance. You can find out how the company advances employees, if advancement is possible, and if they provide any means for additional education. If you are taken through a tour of the office, you may gain a greater insight into how employees interact with each other and where you would fit into the daily operations. Future coworkers that you meet on a tour will also have input for the employer, so remember to charm them with your smile, polite demeanor and enthusiasm for the job.

4. Follow-up for your interview

If the interview was successful, you will either walk out of the office with the job offer or the timeframe for a follow-up phone call. If you met with someone from Human Resources, you may still need to meet with another manager or the owner of the business. It is a very good sign if you make it to the next round of interviews. If the interview ends without any further plans, it is ok to ask when you can expect to hear back. You should wait until the time they indicated has passed before calling to check on the progress. Sometimes there are setbacks in the interview process that make it take longer than expected to get a reply.

In the meantime, it is considered interview etiquette to send a thank you note to the people with whom you spoke. Express gratitude to the interviewer(s) for their time, and let them know that you are still interested in the position. Perhaps you left the interview with a positive feeling about the job and a few reasons why you would be perfect for the position. Keep these in mind for the follow-up call.

If you are offered the job, ask when they would like you to start so you can give proper notice to any current employers. Two weeks is the standard amount of notice you need to give employers before leaving, and most companies will understand if you need this time to finish your obligations. If they decide not to offer you the job, you can politely ask for constructive criticism to find out which areas can be improved in your resume or interviewing skills. If they decided to go with someone who had more relevant experience or skills, then you cannot blame yourself. View the criticism in a positive light, because it can only help in the long run. Interviewing has a learning curve, and the more comfortable you become with the process, the better you will do in the future.

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