Ten Tips For A Better Post-Grad Career Search

by Vault Careers | March 10, 2009

Need some advice about your job hunt? Have some questions you're too embarrassed to ask? We've got some advice for you as you begin - or continue - your job hunt.

At what point during the interview process do I inquire about the salary?

You should only ask about salary after the company has given you a job offer. The interview process is a time for you to learn about a potential employer and for the employer to learn about you. Until the firm gives you an offer, the ball's in their court.Once you're offered the job, you have room to negotiate.

Given the trend toward 'business casual,' is it still proper etiquette to wear a suit to an interview at a company with a casual dress code? What if they tell me to wear whatever I want?

You should always wear a suit to the interview. It doesn't matter if the company follows the business casual trend or not - companies who have this policy still expect you to show up in a suit. You're there to make a first impression, so it better be a good one. Even if you feel overdressed, it's better to look too polished than too sloppy.

Should I send a follow up note after I submit my resume? If so, how long should I wait?

Yes, you should. Unless the company needs to fill a position immediately, there is usually a lag between the time the company receives your resume and the time they contact you for an interview. At the same time, you shouldn't wait too long before following up. A week is the optimal time to wait - unless you believe that the company needs to fill the job immediately.

Also, it's best to make the note short and to the point. Ask them if the position is still open, and be sure to include the date that you sent your resume along with all contact information. E-mail is ideal for this purpose.

~Do cover letter rules change when one is applying for a job via e-mail?

A bit. When applying for a job through e-mail, you should still include a brief cover letter outlining your skills, experience and goals. Your best bet is to include the cover letter in the text of the e-mail, along with your resume. Some companies do not open attachments, fearing viruses. If you do include an attachment with your e-mail, you should include both the cover letter and the resume in the attachment.

Should I put my college GPA on my resume? What about my SATs?

In general, you should only put your GPA on your resume if it is above a 3.0. You may also include your GPA in your major, if it is higher than your regular GPA. If your GPA is not that high, leave it off and concentrate on extracurricular activities, clubs, and internships.

If I haven't had any internships or jobs during college, should I list my professors or family members as references?

First of all, there's no need to list your references on your resume. If a company is interested in you, it will ask for your references. Use people who know you in a professional capacity when at all possible. In a pinch, use professors or people you have worked with in school clubs or during school activities. Avoid listing family members. The only exception: If you have worked at a family business, you may list family members among your references.

What questions should I ask?

Normally, an interviewer will ask you if you have any questions at the end of the interview. This is your opportunity to demonstrate your good listening skills and your genuine interest in the company. It's a good idea to make a list of questions beforehand, so you don't appear at a loss. The type of questions you should ask are:

questions that show a sincere interest in the company, not salary or benefits

requests for clarifications about things the interviewer has said during the interview

detailed inquires about the actual responsibilities of the job

Should I shave my facial hair off for the interview?

Unless you have a fully-grown and neatly trimmed beard or moustache, you should always be clean-shaven for the interview. Any 'work-in-progress' facial hair will make you look sloppy and unprofessional.

Got another question we haven't answered here? We're happy to answer your career questions. E-mail us your queries.

Filed Under: Job Search


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