When job searching, deciding what your next career move should be can be overwhelming; despite how quickly you may or may not be getting interviews and offers, there are still a lot of options out there, and it can be easy to lose sight of what you need most out of your next position. However, accepting a job offer without heavily weighing the pros and cons can not only result in a poor match, but could be harmful to your career.
If you’re unhappy in your position, you’re less likely to put your best foot forward and may even slip up, which never reflects well when you’re searching for future opportunities and in need of references. So how do you know what exactly you need from your next role and whether or not a particular position or company offers it?
First, start off by making a pros and cons list of your current or last position. Did you enjoy the pay, but feel like you didn’t fit in with the culture? Maybe you loved the work-life balance but there weren’t enough growth opportunities, or the hours were so strenuous that they outweighed the great benefits. Whatever your current or most recent situation is, there are always pros and cons, so think hard about what those are.
Then, decide which pros you can live without, and which cons you aren’t willing to encounter anymore in the future. To help you do this, try ordering each side of that list in order of importance. Make sure to include important factors such as:
- Company culture
- Work-life balance
- Growth opportunities
- Management styles
When you’re finished, compare those priorities to each job listing you apply to and each offer you get. Some are easy to determine up front, like salary, as they are often posted on listings and discussed in offers. For less tangible things like work-life balance, company culture, and management styles, try utilizing resources like Glassdoor to get insider insight into the company and what it’s like to work there. It could also be helpful to ask for a tour through the office after an interview or upon an offer to get a better picture of the work environment.
Lastly, be sure to ask questions on every interview; sometimes, you may be unaware of how important certain factors are or think something isn’t a priority in theory, but can have a very different experience in practice, and getting as many details about any potential employment opportunities is a great way to better understand these priorities. Remember, your next position isn’t just a job—it’s the next step in your career and can have more of an effect on it than you anticipate. If you’re ever unsure about a job offer, be sure to ask for a bit of time to consider it before making any moves, and take that time to asses what’s made you