Q. When is discussing gaps in your work history a good idea?
Depending on the reasons you have gaps in your work history, it’s always important to be 1) clear on your resume and, 2) honest about it during an interview. If the reasons are personal, try not to give out too much information to make the recruiter uncomfortable. By simply stating that you were off due to personal reasons for awhile, to care for family, to finish school, to take advantage of a great opportunity, etc are simple enough without giving out more information than you need to.
Q. How do I know if I made a good first impression on an interview?
Well, if you are asked to follow up with them again, are available to interview with other members of the team or senior management and were not told, “We’ll call you if we are interested,” then chances are you did great. Also, following your gut will tell you how well you did or not. Sometimes we get so nervous that we don’t give ourselves enough credit and we think we bombed the interview when in fact, we actually aced it!
Q. How do I follow-up with a recruiter if I don’t get an offer?
It’s okay to be assertive and politely follow up even if you were not the chosen candidate for the job. Just because they said, “No” to offering you a job it does not mean the door is closed forever. It does mean that the opportunity is not right for you now. Ask the recruiter if you can check back in with them in a couple of months, thank them for the opportunity and let them know you would still be interested in working for the company if/when the right job opens up.
Q. Can I negotiate my salary when I get a job offer?
ABSOLUTELY! Don’t be afraid to ask for what you are worth. You may not get the exact salary you were looking for but I bet you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Most people make the mistake that it is “taboo” to discuss money. If you don’t ask for what you want you won’t get it. Recruiters and hiring managers are not mind readers they need to know what you were making and what you are willing to accept as an offer. Always state your needs regarding salary. No one is a better advocate for your compensation then you are.