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Job Search Questions


How (and when and where) do I explain the gap in my work history?

Employers often share that they prefer candidates who are up-front about gaps in their work history. Being upfront with potential employers can help you to answer a question which may be arising in their minds. In your resume or cover letter, consider giving a brief and positive explanation for the gap, and explain what you’ve been doing during the gap, such as voluntary work, fundraising or home budget management.


How, and when, do I negotiate for a better salary?

Unless you’re sure a job has a very restricted pay scale, you should always negotiate. ONET and Salary.com are great resources to find the average wage and range. When you’re offered a salary, you can begin to counter by saying something like, “Based on market research for this position, …”

When asked your desired salary on a written application, try to write in a general phrase like “Negotiable.” If the application requires a numerical value, try to write in a salary range. If you’re not able to write in a range, enter the highest amount of the employer’s stated range for the position.

Similarly, when asked your desired salary via email or in person, try a general phrase like, “I’m sure we can come up with a salary that is satisfactory for both of us.” Try to resist giving a salary range until after the employer offers a number. This helps give you leverage in the process.

If you are offered the job with a salary that you want to negotiate, negotiate before you accept the offer. If the employer does not budge, then ask for a salary review plan (for example, after 90 days or 6 months) to revisit your salary through a performance review.


How important is LinkedIn for my job search?

LinkedIn can be an incredibly useful tool for job seekers to find employment opportunities, learn about employers, network and connect with people working in their desired industries. While LinkedIn is not a requirement for the job search, more and more job applications ask for LinkedIn profiles in place of resumes and recruiters often find candidates through job seekers’ public profiles. Additionally, completing your LinkedIn profile gives employers a search result that you can present in a positive light.


What are the best questions to ask at the end of an interview?

Ask questions that show interest in the interviewers, interest in the company and begin the process of imagining yourself in the shoes of the position. Try out questions like, “What are your favorite parts of working here?” and “What do you envision for this position and this company in the next two to five years?” You might also consider questions that show that you’ve done research on the company, such as “I’ve heard the market for X product is changing. Have you considered a product that offers X?” As a final question, asking “What challenges do you envision for the person in this position?” allows you to listen to their answer and, in turn, share ways you’ve met similar challenges in the past.


When, and how, should I send a thank you note?

Sending a thank you note may help set you apart from other candidates. It is appropriate to send a thank you note after every interview, including phone interviews and in-person interviews. For a panel interview, we recommend you send a separate email to each panelist. If you send a handwritten thank you note, you can mail it in or hand it to the receptionist on your way out of the interview, but be sure to also send a thank you via email.