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"Never Be The First To Give A Number": People Are Sharing Their Best Job-Searching Tips, And These Are Actually Useful In 2022

·12 min read

Looking for a new job can be exciting — but it can also get frustrating, overwhelming, and confusing. Luckily, the folks at r/LifeProTips have shared a ton of great advice for jobseekers. Here are some of their top-rated tips for writing your résumé, interviewing well, and negotiating salary:

1."From here on out, make, 'What was your company's COVID response?' a standard interview question."

woman at a job interview

"I don't want to work for a company that cares little about the health of employees and their families ever again. I'll be looking for something new as soon as it's practical, and I will definitely be asking prospective employers this."


Aleksandargeorgiev / Getty Images

2."Keep a separate master résumé with ALL previous work experience. When sending out a résumé for an application, duplicate the file and remove anything that may be irrelevant to the position. You never know when some past experience might become relevant again, and you don’t want to forget about it."

"Every field does things a little bit differently, but this is what’s worked for me as a soon-to-be college grad, with little truly significant work experience, and wanting to go into education.

Most American employers/career help centers I’ve met with suggest keeping it to about a page because employers won’t go over every résumé with a fine-toothed comb right away. Anything you find interesting but maybe less important could be brought up in an interview as an aside, perhaps."


3."For those of you who are interviewing on Zoom, these tips helped me get three job offers."

woman interviewing for a job remotely

"Raise your camera to eye level or slightly higher. I prop my laptop up on a couple books. This keeps your gaze from pointing down. Eye contact is important, even on a video conference.

Create a brief doc outlining key points you want them to know about you (including a 'tell me about yourself' intro) and several questions you have for them.

Open the doc on your computer, and launch Zoom in a small window at the top center of your screen above this doc. Doing this keeps your eyes focused on the top of the screen while they are talking, making you appear more engaged than if you were looking, say, at the bottom left corner at the person talking. And having your notes just below just in case helps to calm nerves and keeps your thoughts clear."


Yana Iskayeva / Getty Images

4."Never tell the recruiter how much money you make, and never be the first to give a number."

"A lot of recruiters will ask what salary you are interested in, partly to see if you are within their budget, but also this is a huge opportunity for you to sell yourself short, especially if you don't fully understand the scope of the role yet.

Instead, say something like, 'I think I would need to hear a bit more about the scope of this role and expectations before discussing compensation for it. Can we revisit this discussion after I have had a chance to talk with the team and determine whether I am a good fit?' They might immediately ask you what else you want to know about the role here, so be prepared.

Recruiters will frequently ask how much you currently make as well, again, partly to see if you fall within their range and, again, a huge opportunity for them to take advantage of you. I would recommend never answering this. Instead say something like:

'I would prefer not to disclose that at this point in the process. I would prefer to have a more comprehensive salary based on my skills, what I can offer to the team, and company benefits. Is there a certain budget that you had in mind?'"


5."When applying for a job online, copy and paste your answers to their application questions into a Word document so you can refer back before attending a later stage interview."

NBC / Via giphy.com


"Writing, copying, and pasting from a Word document as you go will also help when the page crashes, or you have to go back and change something and find all your answers have disappeared."


6."Any time you successfully solve a problem, handle a difficult situation, etc., write it down and use it in future job interviews."

"This is for anyone who may job-hop to increase their salary. Or for those who are generally afraid of 'Tell me about a time when you...' questions in job interviews.

We all have those days where something out of the ordinary happens and you have to deal with it somehow, some way. Instead of just doing it and talking about it later (or worse, forgetting it the next day), write down the entire scenario and how you successfully handled it in a Word document so you don't forget it.

This way you'll be much more prepared, and it'll give you a bit of a leg up against other job seekers."


7."When applying for jobs online, save a copy of the job responsibilities and requirements. This information is usually not available after they stop accepting applications and will be useful when preparing for the interviews."

woman filling out a job application on her laptop


"Also useful for when you get the job, so you can make sure you're doing all the things expected of you, even if people forget to train you properly. I can't find the job description for my current position and am far too late to ask for it, so I've had to piece it together from co-workers."


Globalmoments / Getty Images/iStockphoto

8."When a job interviewer asks, 'What's your biggest weakness?' interpret the question in practical terms rather than in terms of personality faults."

"'Sometimes I let people take advantage of me,' or 'I take criticism personally,' are bad answers. 'I'm too honest,' or, 'I work too hard,' even if they believe you, make you sound like you'll be irritating to be around or you'll burn out.

Instead, say something like, 'My biggest weakness with regards to this job is I have no experience with [company's database platform],' or 'I don't have much knowledge about [single specific aspect of job] yet, so it would take me some time to learn.'

These are real weaknesses that are relevant to the job, but they're also fixable things that you'll correct soon after being hired. Personality flaws are not (and they're also none of the interviewer's business)."


9."Beware the 'Intern Trap.' Don't take a job as an 'X Intern' at a company that doesn't have anyone who can do X."

NBC / Via giphy.com

"Interning should be a process of learning a craft while you help to contribute to the overall institutional goals.

If a company is advertising for an intern position but doesn't have anyone who does that job, then they are probably just trying to pay someone less for a job that they want someone to be able to do. Traditionally, these are jobs that young people are adept at, but older people may not have the skills to perform."


10."When applying for jobs (especially at large organizations), look through the job description and add any keywords they use to your résumé to get your application through HR."

"HR filters out résumés using keywords and jargon as an indicator of abilities. Paid résumé development tools have figured this out. They essentially populate your résumé with the keywords that they've found effective at getting interviews, but you can do this yourself if you know your industry well and research the job."


11."When it comes time for the 'Do you have any questions for us?' part of a job interview, always ask why the position has opened up. This might help you get an idea of what kind of environment you’ll be going into."

woman interviewing a man for a job


"On the same token, the position need not only be open only because someone was fired or retired, but could be a brand-new position at the company, which is also helpful to know.

New positions will still have job descriptions, but sometimes the entire scope of duties is unknown or undeveloped. Ask how they plan to measure your performance given that this position doesn’t yet have defined duties."


Violetastoimenova / Getty Images

12."When writing your résumé, use the STAR method to describe what you did in previous positions: Situation, Task, Action, Result."

"Let's say you tutored some kids while in high school. Maybe your descriptive points look something like this:

• Tutored several Grade 10 students in math

• Explained mathematical concepts and assisted in test preparation

The main question you want to ask yourself after each point is, 'So what?' Okay, you taught some kids math — how are those skills applicable for the position you're applying for?

So using STAR, let's break it down:

Situation: These kids need help learning math.

Task: Teach them math.

Action: Okay, so how are you teaching them math? By explaining mathematical concepts and assisting in test preparation.

Result: The goal is to improve their academic performance and understanding of the subject. When applicable, use numbers. A 25% improvement is more helpful than 'improvement' with no quantifier.

So now we have:

• Improved Grade 10 students' academic performance by up to 25% by explaining mathematical concepts and assisting in test preparation

Tada! Isn't that so much better?"


13."DO NOT badmouth your current company during an interview, even if the interviewer asks why you're looking to leave."

Epix / Via giphy.com

"It seems like common sense, but I keep seeing it happen again and again. My partner and I are both hiring for highly sought after jobs, and we keep running into candidates who use the interview to badmouth their current job, talk about how dumb they think their current manager is, or how the work is beneath them. DO NOT DO IT.

Here are some general vague responses you can use if you get asked that question. Really, any responses is acceptable, so long as you're professional:

• My company is great, but I think I'm ready for the next step in my career.

• As things have changed at my company, so has the role, and I think I need something that will be a better fit.

• I think I do very good work in my current role, and I think this job would compensate better for my efforts.

• I'm not looking to leave my current company, but when I heard about this role coming open, I knew I had to take the opportunity."


14."If you're looking for a job, mention it to everybody that you come in contact with. You never know whose sister's neighbor's uncle is hiring."

"I was trying to make a career change in my mid-20s and was having problems getting my foot in the door. I visited a loan officer at my credit union in the middle of my job hunt and mentioned it to her.

Her eyes lit up, and she said that the person that she had just had a meeting with worked in HR at the kind of company that I was looking to get into. She said that she could pass on my information if that was okay with me.

She did, and within 24 hours this person contacted me and I had an interview at his company, and I was hired the next week. If I had never mentioned it to this loan officer, I wouldn't have gotten my foot in the door when I did."


15."When interviewing for a job, when asked the salary question, turn that back around on the interviewer (nicely)!"

20th Century Fox / Via giphy.com

"This has worked for me on my last three jobs (one of them was a promotion) that I got. When the interviewer asks the question, 'What salary are you looking for?' instead of listing what you’re expecting, ask them instead.

I always start with explaining that I have been researching salaries in my field but wanted to know what they feel is a competitive salary for someone with my experience? (If this your first job interview or you’re going for an entry-level job that you don’t have experience in, you can always change the part about experience to 'this position').

Oftentimes, they will give you the number that they are expecting to pay for that position; and every time I ask a potential employer it has been at least $5K–$10K more then I was going to say.

This also helps you compare what they’re willing to pay vs. whether that salary is worth the job. AND you don’t run the risk of underselling yourself! (If they’re expecting to pay $60K and you say $40K, they’re not going to correct you and also might think that you are not as qualified or have a high opinion of your own self-worth)."


16.And finally, "Job descriptions are usually written to sound more complicated and high profile than the jobs really are. Don’t let the way it is written intimidate or deter you from applying to a job you think you can do."


"So true. I quit my job a couple months ago. They opened a job posting for my exact position. Looking at the job description, I can easily say that I don't fulfill half of the requirements, LOL."


H/T: r/LifeProTips

What's a tip that's helped you in the job searching process? Share what's worked for you in the comments.

Note: Responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.