It might seem that sorting through several solid job offers would be a dream scenario. After all, you spent time perfecting your resume and cover letter and fighting through the interview process to get the offer, right?
Wrong. The job process isn’t necessarily about getting all the offers you can. It’s about getting one good offer from a company that truly suits your complex career goals.
Your needs are more elaborate than a salary and a good title. The best offer will take into account both of these things as well as benefits, how you’ll spend your time daily and your opportunities for building your network and meeting motivated people.
Here’s a checklist you can use to evaluate your job offers and determine whether or not the best offer really is the best for you:
Salary: Bigger Isn’t Always Better
Is more money better? Not always. Many studies show that $75,000 is the salary cap at which money no longer significantly impacts your day-to-day happiness. Unless money truly is a personal motivator for you, don’t judge the best offer by salary alone.
Beyond comparing one number to another, salary can also be an opportunity to understand the difference between job offers. For example, if you receive two similarly-titled job offers and one offers $52,000 and the other offers $72,000, you’ll want to understand why the salary is so different. Is it the location? The responsibilities? The company? Each answer can provide a clue as to which offer is truly the best for you.
Much like a salary, a bigger benefits package isn’t always better because it may be full of value that you don’t intend to use. Often a company’s salary package reflects benefits, so if you don’t use them you are essentially missing out on compensation.
Take a minute to decode your lifestyle and your needs for the near future. Do you plan to buy a house or adopt a child? Do you need coverage for your spouse, or are you a single, healthy person in search of a low monthly premium? Understanding how the benefits that come with a job offer will play out in your life (not just their face value) will help you decide which offer will benefit you the most.
What Does Your Daily Job Description Look Like?
The most important factor in assessing the fit of a new job is what your day-to-day function will be. Job titles can vary, with a Project Manager in one company functioning more like an assistant team lead and a Project Manager in another company functioning more like a manager. The best way to understand the reality of the offer in your hand is to talk to someone at the company who has that role. The second best way is to carefully compare the actual job description of each offer side-by-side.
Beyond your time on the job, you should also consider how this position might affect your personal life. Are you going from a passive role to an active one, in which you might be significantly more drained by the end of the day? Or are you swapping out an overwhelming “work-til-you-drop” environment for a more laid back (but lower paying) vibe? How you want to feel in your daily life will be a huge indicator of which job offer is the best for you.
Will You Be Building a Valuable Network?
Working with people you like and care about is a significant source of job satisfaction. You don’t have to be best friends, but camaraderie and a sense of a shared goal (and a few inside jokes) can go a long way to making your workday fly by. Furthermore, part of the value of your job is to create relationships with people with similar goals, interests and views of the world. Where you work will be a powerful source of networking and professional contacts.
When you consider a job offer, try your best to get a feel for the culture of the workplace and the people who work there. Do you have any shared interests or demographic information in common? Will you be interested in helping and receiving help from these people? Differences can have a positive impact on overall company performance, but shared experiences and communication are what help companies achieve those results.
Sometimes the best job offer really is the best… and sometimes an opportunity is hiding behind a lackluster title or brand name. When you’re considering several job offers, make sure you look at all the facts before deciding which is truly the best for you.