Everything you need to know to get a new job—in just 5 minutes
From writing resumes to negotiating salary, Monster career expert Vicki Salemi offers insight for every step of the job search process.
You’ve got your job search going in full swing when, all of a sudden, you hit a roadblock and you don’t know what to do. Your quandary probably begins with a question like: What’s the proper protocol for following up after an interview? Or: How do I answer questions about my salary? And possibly a statement like: Describe yourself in 30 seconds—help!
Fortunately, you’ve come to what is basically a one-stop-shop for help in all areas of your job search.
So you can land the job and salary of your dreams, Monster career expert Vicki Salemi, who has more than 15 years of experience in corporate recruiting, shared nine bits of advice for every step of the job search process—from writing your resume to talking salary.
Find the specific tip you’re looking for—or watch the entire playlist—below for guidance on all of your burning job-search questions.
1. Avoid typos in your resume and cover letter
Want to know what not to include in your resume or cover letter? Misspelled words, fragment sentences, and grammatical errors, that’s what.
Salemi says the easiest way to turn a recruiter off is with a typo or spelling mistake. Fortunately, she says it’s also one of the easiest things you can fix.
Always use spellcheck, but also proofread your resume and cover letters. And for extra eagle eyes, you should print out your materials and have a friend review them.
2. Follow up after every application
It’s not enough to simply send your resume, cross your fingers and hope for the best. Salemi says you have to follow up.
For every resume you send or job you apply to, she recommends setting a reminder for yourself to follow up one week later. This way, you won’t forget about the job—and the recruiter won’t forget about you.
3. Research the company
The more you know about a company, the better you’ll look during an interview. Salemi says you’ll impress hiring managers when you come armed with talking points that make it clear you’ve done your homework.
Before your meeting, you should check out the company’s “About Us” page, set up a Google News alert for the company name, and follow the company on social media. Additionally, you can also look up company profiles and read employee reviews through Kununu on Monster.
4. Work on (and nail) your elevator pitch
Whether you’re out running errands or hitting up a networking event, you never know whom you’re going to run into, which is why Salemi says it’s important to have your elevator pitch nailed down.
What’s an elevator pitch? It’s a 30-second spiel on who you are, what you can do and what you’re looking for. Have this memorized, so you can better market yourself to potential employers and professional contacts.
5. Send a thank-you note
After an interview, sending a thank-you note can help you seal the deal.
Salemi says there are three things your thank-you note must include: First, thank the person for meeting with you. Second, reiterate your interest in the position and why you think you would be a great fit. Finally, mention something you talked about in the interview.
Oh, and don’t snooze on hitting send. Thank-you notes should be sent promptly, typically within 24 hours of an interview.
6. Give the recruiter a little nudge
When you feel like you’ve been ghosted by a recruiter, Salemi says you can—and should—follow up.
Give it about 10 days after the interview, and if you still haven’t heard anything, check in by email, saying, “I just wanted to see if there is a status update on the position.”
Oh, and be sure to reference the job since the recruiter may be juggling multiple openings.
7. Determine your desired salary
When you’re filling out applications, sometimes it will ask for your desired salary. This is where most people draw a blank.
Since some applicant tracking systems automatically reject candidates whose salary requirements are higher than a set dollar amount and you don’t want to price yourself out of the running, enter the lowest number possible. Salemi actually recommends putting in 0 or $1, so you have a chance to get a foot in the door.
8. Take charge of salary questions
There’s no interview question possibly more unnerving than the ones involving salary.
It’s a fine line, as you don’t want to set the bar too low based on your current pay, but you definitely don’t want to reach so high it prices you out of the running altogether.
If you’re asked about your current salary, Salemi says you can dodge the question and get the upper hand by, instead, turning the question around and asking what the range is for the position. Then, state the salary you’re looking for.
9. Negotiate a higher salary
If you don’t negotiate salary when you get a job offer, Salemi says you’re leaving money on the table. Like the saying goes, if you don’t ask, the answer will always be no. Why not at least try to put some extra cash in your pocket?
So when you get an offer, enthusiastically say, “That’s great, I’m honored!” Then negotiate by saying, “I was actually hoping for a higher salary—would that be a possibility?”
By leaving it open-ended, Salemi says the recruiter will most likely come back with a higher offer.
Understand the job search
Now that you know the basics about what it takes to get a new job, there are probably some areas where you could use some more detailed information. Maybe you want the specifics of resume writing. Maybe you're not sure about certain job interview questions. Maybe negotiating a raise is at the top of your list. Could you use some help in these or other areas? Join Monster today. As a member, you'll get career advice and job search tips sent right to your inbox. We know getting a job feels like one big mind-bending puzzle, but luckily there are clear-cut ways to put it all together to your advantage.