When parents start to encourage their children to start looking for universities they encourage them to create “must have” and “it would be nice” lists. These soon-to-be graduates then sit down and list things off like, “my school must have an intramural baseball team, a really nice library to study in, be within my price range, and be between 2-6 hours away from home.” They would then continue to say, “it would be nice if my school had a big gym, had a separate building for my degree program, and had cheap dorm options.” As you grow up, oftentimes big decisions such as schools get the same list like weddings, buying a car, buying a house or when looking for a job.
The process of getting a job can be challenging and there are some points in life where you need to take any job offered to you and make it work in a hard situation. This however is not always the case. When you have the opportunity to seek out employers while still in a good spot financially there are a few very key factors that you may want to consider thinking about beyond “does the office look nice and am I getting a raise?”
Salary is one of the first contributing factors to looking for a job however, there are a number of factors that play into it. Sometimes a salary based job switch occurs because people feel undervalued where they are so they leave for the same role with a higher wage elsewhere. Sometimes people are looking for a new role that would result in a salary increase.
When looking for a new job with a higher salary it is important to not only keep in mind this increase but the next to follow it. Are you stepping into a role where there is no room for growth? Are you asking about average corporate increases through the interview process? Do you know how long the last employee in your new position stayed and why they left? If you are serious about making a transition from one company to the next you should be looking out for not only your present self but your future self as well.
When looking for a new job it is very important to look at your current situation, are you single, married, with children… whatever the case may be and set a bare minimum of what you are willing to accept for benefits then stick to it. If the benefits that you need for your current situation are not possible to reach at this point in time, make sure that either the salary is increased or you can get extra hours of work needed to create enough compensation to cover the benefits required.
Where do you live? Where do you want to live in 5 years or 10 years? Where is the job located? How long do you want to be in this job? The first thing that people think about is how close they are to this job right now, which is completely valid. However, thinking about if the job is ever going to move and if you are hoping to move in the near to moderately distant future is also a very important factor to consider.
If you are on salary, making sure that the hours you have been given fit into the schedule you have created for your life is very important. If you are not on salary and you are paid hourly, making sure that the hours being offered to you are both enough all year round, even in a slow season as well as in line with fitting to your schedule well is another great initial step in looking for work. Sometimes this looks like a 9-5, sometimes this is a rotating schedule; no matter the case, finding a job with the right hours is key to creating a good work life balance.
When looking for a new job, understanding what the management looks like in this new role will help you understand a bit more about what your day-to-day experience will look like. Meeting your manager in the interview process offers amazing insight into the interactions that you will be having each day. Along with meeting and understanding more about who your manager is, asking questions about their management structure can be very helpful. Understanding how frequently they have 1-1 meetings with staff, how often the whole team gets together, how available your manager is to you and how often they check in on you. Sometimes people enjoy creating deep relationships with their management and seek out mentorship. Sometimes people want to be given a task and left alone. One is not necessarily better than the other but understanding what you are getting into will help you understand if it is a job you will enjoy!
Looking for an organization with a good corporate culture is two-fold. First, do they enjoy spending time together? Do they have occasional watercooler conversations? Do they all eat birthday cake together or do summer bbq’s with one another? Understanding the corporate culture in general across all teams is great, however it is good to also consider the way in which they speak and communicate with one another. Corporate culture does not begin and end at the watercooler, more than that how does management speak to other management and how do they speak with their employees? Is there respect from person to person? Keeping your eye on both surface level and deeper corporate culture is important when looking for a new job.
Opportunity For Growth
There are very few roles that someone can hold and know that there is no opportunity for growth. Perhaps the president of a company, the owner, a CEO, or the head of xyz… beyond that it is possible to see what your next promotion and the promotion after that are going to look like. Despite there being plentiful routes that one can take it does not mean that there are always the same opportunities for growth. While looking into a new job it is helpful to keep in mind what your career aspirations are then compare and contrast to the opportunity for growth in that given company. Asking questions such as, “Who was the last person who got promoted out of this role and what did they start doing? What kind of career development options do you offer? Are there opportunities to eventually continue my education through the company?” The more you ask, the more you know. Getting as much information about a company will help you determine whether or not it is a good fit for you.
Understanding the type of equipment that you will be working with each and everyday is far more important than the average person would anticipate. Each job is different, from knowing which kind of forklift you are driving to which computer you are using it is helpful to understand if your equipment will be a useful tool or an annoying set back in what you do each day.
You may have noticed none of these categories were assigned to a “must have” or “it would be nice” list. Each person is completely different and while some may value flexibility and good management, others value salary and benefits. No one is the same, so thinking specifically about what you need, and what you want is the best first step in looking for a job.