Q: I am about to get a job soon, paying at least $33,000 annually. Right now, I make $11,000 a year. Should I wait to apply?
A: Yes. Si. Oui. Da. And, boy, I'm not much of a linguist. But, yes, absolutely wait.
In theory, if you're making $11,000 a year, and you've kept your nose clean for as long as you've had a credit history, and you don't have a lengthy trail of bad debts, there's no reason that you shouldn't be able to get a reasonably good credit card, perhaps a nice gas rewards card.
But that said, $11,000 a year salary isn't much (you're probably thinking, "Tell me about it"), and so I doubt you'd be able to get much of a credit line, even if your credit history is spotless. Better to build up your emergency fund so you don't find yourself dipping into credit right away - especially if that $33,000 offer mysteriously vanishes into the mist.
That's because the more your income, the higher the credit limit, but more importantly, the more income you make, the better the credit card offers that tend to come around. If you don't make much, you simply won't be offered the best credit cards available, like one that offers a low introductory interest rate.
Granted, in many ways, if you're making $11,000 a year, you probably won't find some of the elite credit cards, say, one that offers a lot of high-octane rewards points, all that useful. They tend to be more useful if you're doing a lot of spending on the card, and many of the elite credit cards come with a relatively high annual fee, often waived during the first year, and if you're making $11,000 a year…well, a $200 annual fee is going to hurt a lot more than if you were making $80,000 a year.
So, anyway, this is a long-winded way of saying, absolutely wait until you've got the $33,000 job. Preferably you'll apply for the card after you've had the job for a few months. Be sure you're staying in the job before running up a credit card balance and getting stuck in debt.
And, hey, congratulations on the new job: $11,000 to $33,000. That's a nice jump. May you have many more salary jumps on your climb up the career ladder.