Evaluating a new job offer

Taking a closer look at the big picture

It can be easy to get caught up in the excitement of a job offer. After all, someone has thought enough of your skills to extend you an employment opportunity.

But like any big decision don't move too quickly. Take time to evaluate the offer and make the right move. Things are not always what they seem on the surface, and you can get caught up in the excitement. This can be even more true of someone who has been job hunting for a while.

First of all know what you want and what you expect out of a new job. Do your research. You'll need to know what a reasonable salary for the position and for your level of experience. Check periodicals, local newspapers, employment agencies, trade and professional journals and associations. There are also a number of online resources that help you. Once you have a good idea of a salary range for the position, according to jobstar.org, you will need to evaluate it according to your level of experience and the geographic location of the position. Consider the cost of living in that area.

Also, look into the company's structure. According to Career Link, the University of Baltimore Career Center's online newsletter, you need to be aware of the existing compensation plan the company has in place, including the benefits like:
  • Health coverage
  • Dental coverage
  • Life insurance
  • Vacation time
  • Flex time
  • Pension plan or retirement benefits
Also know the raise and review schedule. Last but not least, understand the pay scale. Consider all these factors when you evaluate the job offer, and don't be afraid to negotiate.

There are a number of things other than money and benefits that make a job a good fit for you. The Bureau of Labor Statistics' "Occupational Outlook Handbook," lists a number of other factors to consider:

The organization's size, philosophy, history, stability, products and services: Be sure that you are comfortable with all these factors. Does the size of the firm match your needs? Larger companies may offer more options, but more highly specialized positions, while smaller firms may offer more variety of duties and greater responsibility. Are you interested in the products and services the company offers? Is there a considerable amount of turnover at the company?

The nature of the job: Ideally, the work you will be doing will match your skills and interests and the hours will suit you. Consider the work requirements before taking the job. What hours will you be required to work? What tasks will you do?

Location: Before accepting a position, consider where you will be located. Will you need to commute? Will you need to relocate? What is the cost of living in the area? What is the personality of the area?

Opportunities: At a good job, you will not just work, you will have opportunities to learn new skills, responsibilities and positions. Look ahead to your next career move while considering this one.

The best advice from experts is to step back, look at the big picture and move with a calculated purpose.

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; jobstar.org; Career Link, the University of Baltimore Career Center's online newsletter.



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