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With more and more applications online, the previous standard of putting “negotiable” in this field becomes less of an option as the form typically looks for a specific number or range.
The best advice you can get will depend on the application. If it’s paper application and you can write “negotiable” or something similar and feel comfortable doing so, go for it.
If the application give you the option for a range, determining that range will take some research, which you should do prior to the interview anyway. Find out the average income in the city you’re applying in. You can find that on this City Data site and other similar sites. Once you know the average income, find the cost of living for the area you are applying. The Bankrate.com cost of living calculator is good. As is this one from CNN Money. Run a few and get a good ball park range. Add in your fixed expenses and you’ll have a good number to start with. Then research what the typical salary range is for the position. You can find this information through a professional organization, simple Google search, Monster.com and other sources. Use more than one.
The above process will also help you with the forms that require a more exact number. If you are lucky the form will say minimum required salary, which means they won’t consider you if your number is above what they are looking for and you won’t consider them if they intend to offer less. This is a way of weeding out the applicants.
In the end, you will have to find what works for you and your life and lifestyle (hopefully it isn’t extravagant!). Try a few techniques, using your best judgement, you’ll eventually find one that works for you.
This Career Capitalist post gives a good conversation tree for how to approach this question in an interview.
This post from Quarter Life Finances has several pieces of good advice when dealing with online applications.
It’s best to close an interview with questions about the next steps and where the interviewer is in the process. This Monster.com article suggest closing with, “When can I start?” This Career Confidential video state it another way, “based on what we’ve talked about I think this is a fantastic fit, do you agree?”
You might be thinking that’s too strong, or presumptuous. You have to find the right phrasing for you. One that fits your personality and the position. It isn’t too strong, forthright or assuming to ask, “what’s the next step.” Or, “where are you in the interview process?” If you’re lucky you are either the last interview or the interviewer will tell you we are looking at another (number) of candidates.
The next question you should ask is, “when do you hope to make a decision?”
You should be able to tell by how the interviewer answers the question if they are willing to give you more information. If the answers are short, quip and generally seemed more focused in getting you out the door than providing you with information, be wary of asking the final question, “is there any reason you wouldn’t move forward with me?” or any of the above suggestions.
You can phrase it however you wish, but this is where you’ll get the most information. Either the interviewer will say a one word answer (Yes or No) or give you something constructive. If the answer is simply, no, you can ask, “why not?” Which should start a conversation and give you an opportunity to discuss those points further. Or you might just be ushered out the door. You can be assertive and respectful and enthusiastic without being aggressive.
Bottom line: find a way to ask about the process, next steps and whether or not you’re still in consideration in your own words. This information is as crucial as the details in the actual interview because you’ll know where you stand and what to expect.
This post is for all college seniors and anyone else who is searching for a job.
It’s recently been brought to my attention that teaching students how to find a job is an overlooked skill at many universities. I can’t promise success, but I can provide some tips that have worked for me.
Make sure everyone knows you are looking for a job. You never know when a friend’s father might know of an opening or someone from your softball team just put in their notice, if you neglect to mention that you are looking for a position. It might feel awkward at first, but memorize your elevator speech and you might be surprised who comes out of the woodwork.
Continue to socialize and talk about things other than searching for a job. It’s easy to let your job search dominate your life. You can spend countless hours combing through want ads and making phone calls. The burn out rate and general frustration can be overwhelming. Make sure you are still taking time to do the things you love and see your friends and family.
Set up Job Search Agents. Let the opening start flooding your inbox! Some of the tops choices are Monster.com, CareerBuilder, Indeed and Simply Hired. Also don’t be afraid to check the U.S. Government.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Or get professional help. If it’s been six months or longer and you aren’t getting any calls or interviews, consider having a professional review your resume and cover letters. Many are former recruiters and hiring managers and have unique insight into the process. If you can, try to find someone in the field where you are applying.
Consider creating a webpage. Use WordPress or other free sites to create a site with more than just your resume. Write about your goals, show work examples, be creative!
Be selective. Know of a company you would love to work at? Go to the website, find the hiring manager’s email address and let them know. Fill out profiles on the company’s website indicating your professional history.
Check regional and national associations. These sites often advertise jobs that are not posted else where.
Learn and use LinkedIn. If you don’t already have a profile, create one. The search and connect. If you still aren’t sure how to get started, Google LinkedIn tutorial.
Google yourself. And Bing. And Yahoo. And… You get the point.
What other job search tips and tricks would you want to share with college seniors and those searching?