By Jay Hodgkins

At the University of Virginia Darden School of Business, careers and job placement are a priority.

As Poets & Quants reported in a sneak peek at employment results for Darden’s full-time MBA Class of 2019, 97 percent of graduates received a job offer within three months of graduation, yielding median starting salaries and signing bonuses of $162,000, up 6.6 percent from the previous year.

In its Best Business Schools 2019 ranking released this week, Forbes surveyed MBA alumni five years after graduation and found that Darden’s Class of 2014 had an average salary of $185,000, up from a pre-MBA average salary of $70,000. Using an ROI calculation that factors in the cost of tuition and deferred salary, Forbes said Darden’s Class of 2014 tallied a “5-year MBA Gain” of $72,600.

However, if a full-time MBAExecutive MBA or Master of Science in business analytics isn’t in your immediate future, the School offers career-enhancing tips for anyone with an internet connection through Darden’s Alumni Career Services Career Corner blog as well as online courses through Darden Executive Education and Coursera. Here are just a few top tips and resources for professionals.

How to Design a LinkedIn Profile When Pursuing a Career Switch

Career pivots can be difficult, and there are often misunderstandings about how to use tools like LinkedIn to help make a switch. Alumni Career Services Executive Director Jen Coleman offers a few dos and don’ts.

DO keep your LinkedIn profile focused on your current and most obvious brand. Save the career pivot story for your in-person networking, where your story is much more likely to be heard.

DON’T try to be a jack of all trades. Most job seekers are afraid to be pigeonholed because they want to keep their options open. Unfortunately, or ironically, this strategy hurts your job search. The hiring market wants to pigeonhole you. It wants to quickly know what you are and what value you can offer. The risk of overgeneralizing is that your profile doesn’t end up appealing to anyone. If you are pursuing multiple paths, my advice is to pick one brand, your most compelling one, for your LinkedIn profile.

What Are You Worth?

Job candidates often struggle to answer the question: “What are your compensation expectations?” That’s why Jamie Crittenberger (MBA ’00), global partner with executive search firm Odgers Berndtson, offers insights on compensation negotiation and strategies for answering salary questions with confidence. According to Crittenberger:

In terms of the opportunity to advance a process and to get more quickly to perfect information, it is typically smart for a job seeker to indicate early on in the process what their compensation expectations are for the role, and to ask the search adviser directly if the budget for the role has been set. If the budget has been set, then the job seeker should ask precise questions about the mix of elements of the compensation package.

In my experience, both job seekers and hiring entities prefer candor and transparency regarding the issue of compensation for the types of high-level roles that I work on. It is far better to understand early in the process what an outcome might look like. Is this realistic for me? Does my expectation match what I’m being told by the hiring manager or search adviser? Secrecy or avoidance of this critical component to a job search does not benefit anyone.

Interviewing While Pregnant

For many women job seekers, there is no more terrifying thought than finding the perfect job while also worrying about when to (or when not to) disclose a pregnancy. Darden Career Coach Lindsay Guthrie provides tips on when and how to disclose a pregnancy during the job search process and many more considerations for women to consider.

There isn’t a crystal ball about how or when to notify a potential employer that you are pregnant. In the early stages of pregnancy, most clients haven’t even told their friends, let alone an employer, so we usually advise riding out the process at least for a few weeks to see how the pregnancy and the job interviews are progressing. If you are farther along in your pregnancy and it might be noticeable, then often it needs to be acknowledged when an in-person interview is imminent.

Most clients are very nervous about disclosing this information, so we often find a phone call to the human resources recruiter coordinating your candidacy prior to your in-person interview is the easiest way to provide this information. And, if you reach the offer stage without having disclosed, it is time to disclose since you will have many questions to ask about benefits and maternity leave policies.

Tapping Into Darden Online to Advance Your Career

Darden was one of the first business schools in the world to offer free massive open online courses to the world, and there are more than three dozen available on Coursera, from introductions on project planning and digital product management to leadership-oriented topics such as business strategy and ethical leadership through Giving Voice to Values. Darden Executive Education also offers online courses, including its Design Thinking and Innovation Specialization.

Discover all the opportunities to advance lifelong learning and career skills on the Darden Online course directory.

And if you are considering an MBA, two recent reports from the Career Services and Employer Alliance and the Graduate Management Admissions Council show record strength in employment trends for graduates of programs such as Darden’s full-time MBA and Master of Science in business analytics.

About the University of Virginia Darden School of Business

The University of Virginia Darden School of Business delivers the world’s best business education experience to prepare entrepreneurial, global and responsible leaders through its MBA, Ph.D., MSBA and Executive Education programs. Darden’s top-ranked faculty is renowned for teaching excellence and advances practical business knowledge through research. Darden was established in 1955 at the University of Virginia, a top public university founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819 in Charlottesville, Virginia.