At the beginning of a new year there are always lots of people seeking new jobs or applying for a job for the first time, as they prepare to graduate from high school or college. My social media feeds have been filled with posts from friends and family excitedly accepting job offers. If you’re currently entering a season of life where you’re making a job change, or applying for your first job, there are some things you should consider before signing the dotted line.
Of course, one of the first things you’ll be interested in when you receive a job offer is how much money you’re going to make, and whether that is enough to cover you and your family’s living expenses. When discussing salary with a potential employer, be sure to ask if you are an hourly, commission or salary employee, as well as if there is a potential for raises in the future, and if there’s room for you to grow at the company. You might be comfortable making $16/hour now, but you’ll want to make sure you aren’t stuck at that pay rate forever.
The next thing to consider before taking a job offer is the location. Will you have to move to accept this job? If yes, is it in an area where you are willing to move? If you must move, is the cost of living significantly higher or lower than where you live now? Will your new salary cover the cost of living in this area? Are there ways to get involved in the community and make friends in this area? Do you have a family, a significant other or children to consider in this potential move? There are lots of variables and factors to consider when accepting a new job offer.
The word “benefits” is constantly floated around on professional websites and at college seminars about career readiness. But what are benefits? And what makes the benefits “good”? Benefits are anything that the job provides outside of salary. This can include health, dental and life insurance; retirement options; stock options; paid time off; vacation days; sick days; holiday bonuses; company outings; free tickets or access to exclusive hotels, theme parks, sports games, etc; and anything else that might draw an employee to their company. The standard benefits are a health insurance option, a 401k, national holidays off, and a few days of sick and paid time off that accumulate over your time as their employee. Anything in addition to these basics would be “good” benefits. For example, a company located near me is known for giving away tickets to all the sports games and concerts that come to my city, as well as tickets to other fun events and areas like our local theme park and zoo.
The final thing to evaluate before accepting a job offer is the culture of the workplace you’ll be joining. Consider what sorts of things you’re motivated by and when you’re the most successful. If you need to work in absolute silence, an energetic and loud workspace might not be for you. If you’re a “work hard, play hard” kind of person, a rigid workplace might not be a great job to choose for yourself. I learned this the hard way when I accepted my first job and my boss told me that my work should come before my family and religion. Not all companies cultures are created equally and this can really make or break a job.