Recently, WorkMonger asked our JobSeekers to submit their most pressing questions regarding the job search and hiring process. Our first blog post focused on networking and resumes, and this one covers cover letters, interviews, and salary discussion. Check out our answers to your questions below, and let us know what additional questions you have in the comments section.
How do employers use cover letters?
In the education space, employers typically use cover letters to understand your commitment to their mission and your fit for their particular school/organization. While they can look to your resume to understand your technical qualifications for the role, the cover letter should describe your fit for, and interest in, the opportunity more directly, going beyond your ability to do the job. Of course, WorkMonger handles this part for you when sharing you with an Employer; outside of our process however, cover letters are an important step – especially when your commitment and fit are not readily discernible from your resume (i.e. you’re switching sectors, etc.).
How tailored should a cover letter be, and what content is most compelling?
Cover letters should be very tailored. Of course you can recycle some content between job applications, but since you want to show that you’ve done research to have a deep understanding of the place to which you are applying and how you’d fit in there, each one should really tell a different story. Best practice is to start with an outline of the main points you want to address and build it into a cover letter from there. Be sure to include content that tells your story in a way someone wouldn’t know from just your resume – why did you get into education? Why do you feel connected to their school’s mission over others? Why is this the right point in your career to transition into a team leadership position?
Application & Interview
What are the most commonly asked interview questions?
In impact driven work, every interview you have will probably start with asking you why you are interested in the organization and passionate about their mission. Many organizations in the education reform space are also very focused on finding talent with a strong growth mindset. Be prepared to talk about critical feedback you have received, reflections you had when receiving the feedback, and how you incorporated it into your work moving forward. For more interview tips, check out our blog, 12 Steps to a Great Interview.
When and how should I follow up after an interview?
Send an email within 24 hours to everyone you talked with. If you can’t find their contact information (for example, if you talked to a large panel of people), it’s okay to send a thank you to the person who coordinated everything and ask them to pass it along to X, Y, and Z (the exact names of each person to whom you spoke).
Can I ask about salary range early on in the process?
It is not ideal to ask about salary early. Employers want to know that salary is not your first requirement, but rather, the important work you’ll do as a part of their organization is top priority. However, one perk of being a WorkMonger JobSeeker is that we’ll never match you to a position that does not fit your salary range, so this won’t be a concern in your process.
However, it is reasonable to have concerns about salary if the role level is not clear from a job posting. If you want to broach the subject, frame it as a question you are asking out of respect for the employer’s time. You can say, “I hate to ask this early on, because I am so excited about this role and the work that [organization] does, but I do want to make sure the compensation on this role is something that would be feasible for my family. It’s important to me that I don’t take up your time if this is not an opportunity that I can consider. Would you be able to share information about the salary range?”
How and when should I negotiate salary?
After you receive a job offer, you can negotiate the salary if you think your skills and experience merit a higher compensation. Be prepared to speak to why you deserve the salary bump – in what ways do you exceed the qualifications listed in the job posting? Additionally, get specific about the number you would like to see. Keep in mind that if they are able to raise the salary at all, they will often try to meet you in the middle of the initial offer and your request. For more tips on this topic, check out our blog, 6 Simple Steps for Negotiating Your Next Job Offer.
Thanks again for your questions! What other questions do you have about the job seeking, application, and interview processes? Leave them in the comments below!