The world’s appetite for interconnectedness and greater productivity continually expands the need for software and systems that provide better solutions and, in turn, a need for people who can build and maintain them. As a result, technology professionals are in demand. Even today, you shouldn’t be surprised if you end up with more than one job offer to consider. If nothing else, you should be prepared for the possibility.
While you might want to jump at the highest salary, it’s smarter to take a more holistic approach to mulling multiple job offers. Considering the often overlooked factors that affect your quality of life can make the difference between being deliriously happy at your new job, or growing to hate it over time.
One thing to consider is the length of your daily commute. Aside from the obvious transportation expenses, being stuck in traffic for hour upon hour every day costs something else: time you could use to do other things, either at work or in your personal life. That’s to say nothing of the stress involved in long, crowded commutes. When comparing offers, then, be sure to look at distances and travel times.
The size, maturity and overall culture of a company should also be a consideration. Remember, you’ll be spending most of your waking hours at work, so you want to be sure your personality and work ethic is a good match for the environment you’ll be in.
Start-ups, young businesses, and small companies tend to be dynamic and require employees to wear multiple hats. If specialization isn’t your thing, you may be happier in a place that will require some juggling.
Large corporations are generally just the opposite. Roles and duties are clearly delineated, and the overall environment is consistent. If you like stability and clarity, a bigger, more well-established employer may be the way to go.
Weigh any offer you get in the context of whether it advances your long-term goals and increases your value. The position you accept should provide the opportunity to develop skill sets that will take you to the next level.
You should also consider the resume-building power of a strong brand. For years to come, having Intel, Microsoft, or Google on your resume will make you stand out from other candidates, and can make the difference between getting a future foot in the door or being placed in the heap of other resumes under consideration.
Also consider the amount of travel a job requires. While 25 percent travel time may not seem like a lot, it’s nearly 13 weeks on the road each year. Although some people thrive on constantly going places and meeting new people, others like to stick close to home. Carefully think through how the absence from home will affect you.
Each region of the U.S. has its own unique culture and idiosyncrasies. When considering work outside your geographic comfort zone, research the company’s home base and, if possible, take a scouting trip. You don’t want to turn down a local job for a higher paying position elsewhere, then end up being miserable because you have irreconcilable differences with your new home town.
Benefits are often overlooked in job offers. Don’t make that mistake. Consider:
- Medical/Dental Coverage: This can have huge hidden costs. The difference between what’s paid by your employer and what’s actually covered at your doctor’s office can account for a sizable portion of your wages over the course of a year.
- Paid Time Off: How many sick days are included? How many weeks of paid vacation per year, and how do they accrue?
- Education Opportunities: Is there a tuition reimbursement program? Internal or external training opportunities? Does the company encourage conference attendance?
Having the opportunity to mull over competing job offers is a great position to be in. By thinking about these and other issues besides money, you’ll be able to zero in on the natural fit that can lead to a great career.