Should You Accept the Job Offer? Some Things to Consider

close up of human hand

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

You’ve been thinking about this job since you met the recruiter at the career fair and you finally got the offer. Your natural instinct is to say yes, to maybe even scream it from the rooftops, but I caution you not to. At least not unless you’ve done your homework.

What do I mean? I have found that very few people are strategic when it comes to their job search. Whether they accept a new career or not can be based on how long they’ve been searching, the number of bills (and student loans) looming, or simply because it was offered. Given that, if you applied for a new career for any of the following reasons, you should definitely hit pause when you receive that offer.

My friend works here and he really likes it. You and your friends are unique individuals. Just because you have friends in common and even have similar tastes, doesn’t mean you have the same mission in life or that you’ll thrive in similar environments. Working in a cubical crunching numbers when you are uniquely designed to travel and speak to large audiences would eventually crush your spirit.

It’s a popular company. A great reputation is admirable, however, popularity is not synonymous with success, and vice versa. A small company, or even a start-up might be the place where you can shine. (In fact, you might be the person with the vision for the start up.)

They are offering more money than I could have ever imagined. Money should never be your #1 deciding factor. Most people would rather make less and be happy than be rich and miserable. Such was the case with Scott Harrison. After hitting rock bottom, he established Charity Water, a foundation that has brought clean water to nations all over the world, and he has never felt more fulfilled.

Before you make your decision about the job offer, remove the rose-colored glasses, take a step back and consider the following.

Can this opportunity be a stepping-stone to your long-term career goal(s)? Is there advancement within the company that is in line with your ultimate career goal? Will it add something else to your skill set to open doors for future jobs? If not, you might stagnate your career.

Can you commit for at least a year? Take any strong doubts you have seriously. Ask questions to ease your concerns. Should they become real issues on the job, your desperation to jump ship could lead you into another poor job choice. Three months later you’ll find yourself repeating that cycle and, eventually, employers will be afraid to give you a shot because of your job-hopping.

Have you received multiple offers? As a new grad, I felt like I had to take the first offer I received, but my mentor helped me see I was wrong. We are currently in a job-seekers paradise for entry-level roles. It’s always good to have a couple of choices to consider. Think about advancement, training, environment, retention, compensation, perks, etc. to determine which option is best for you.

Is the company pressuring you to commit? If you’ve been in the interview process for several weeks, you should know if it’s the right choice for you, but if it has only been a day or two, ask yourself why they are insisting you decide not by the end of the week, not tomorrow, right now. (My Spidey senses are tingling.) Understand ‘pressure’ does not mean a quick offer. The job market is fierce and we recruiters are getting candidates through the process as fast as possible so we can make the offer, but we also want you to take time to think about it. Up to a week is more than fair in my opinion, although I will certainly welcome your acceptance earlier.

Is compensation worthy of what you bring to the table? Notice I said compensation, not salary. This includes benefits, perks, bonuses, time-off, etc. If not, and you plan to keep looking, don’t waste your time or the company’s. If you are still in school there is plenty of time before you walk across that stage this spring to land what’s best for you. If you are already in the workforce, it will be tough for you to interview while working traditional hours so why not continue your search and allow someone who’s a better fit to step into that role?

It’s your career, so choose wisely. If you’ve gone through this list, and you feel good about your answers, call that recruiter and say, “I accept!”.

Happy hunting!

Resume Woes? Here Are 7 Tips to Get You Started

Image by Stuart Miles

Image by Stuart Miles

I’ve never gone into great detail regarding resumes but, given those recruiters come across at career fairs and in applications, I thought it would be appropriate to address the basics. Everyone has heard the basics, yet many people still struggle with creating a resume that will catch a Hiring Manager’s eye.

The first time I put together a resume I was already in college. I’d had jobs in high school but they only required an application. Believe it or not a resume was a new concept for me and to say I wasn’t very skilled in this area would be a massive understatement.

I’d mentioned to a friend that I needed a job and he wanted to help me out. He asked me to give him a resume and he’d pass it on. Not having a clue about how to develop a resume I fashioned what I thought was appropriate, including descriptions from the only two jobs I’d ever had. In spite of the fact that there was enough space left over to write a novel, I handed it over the next day. (Hey, I made sandwiches and I ran the cash register. I couldn’t create experience I didn’t have, right?) From the look on his face, I could tell my efforts had fallen short. Way short. Although he tried to hide it, he couldn’t have looked more baffled if I’d handed him a list of my two jobs written on the back of an old receipt. In crayon.

The feeling that came over me gave the emotion ‘mortified’ new meaning. I slunk away muttering something about being late to class knowing my sorry excuse for a resume was headed for the nearest garbage can.

Now, as a recruiter, in spite of much more help available than I had, I still see far too many applicants who also get an ‘F’ for their efforts. So, here are the basics for putting together a resume you can be proud of.

 

One size does not fit all. If you are interested in more than one field you need to have multiple resumes. Sorry, there is no way around it, but you can accomplish this with a few tweaks to your objective and adding or removing the jobs that aren’t relevant.

With the internet at your fingertips there is no reason for a poorly formatted resume. A simple Google search will yield endless pages of websites, many containing templates, that make this task easy. The simplest order for headers is as follows:

  • Top: Name, address, proper contact information, including email and phone (cell, not home for immediate replies)
  • Education: Name of University and degree (year is not necessary) or anticipated graduation date
  • Work Experience: Some like to list Relevant Work Experience, then Other Work Experience
    • This should include the company, location and start and end dates for each job listed. Underneath, list your job title and bullet point the most relevant and/or transferable job duties. (See example below.)
  • Organizations
  • Awards and Accomplishments

No need to list your coursework. As a fellow recruiter pointed out, if you earned your accounting degree we know you took the 300 level accounting course. This wasted space should be used to showcase other accomplishments. (The relevant ones, of course.)

Appropriate formatting

This means using the best font (never Comic Sans or anything too casual), bolded and larger for headings or titles.

Don’t expect recruiters to draw conclusions

If you list a job, even if responsibilities should be obvious, include a short description and any notable accomplishments.

Mack’s Diner                           Detroit                              2018-present

Server

  • Ensures customers have an enjoyable dining experience
  • Trains new servers
  • Consistently averages ticket sales of $30 per guest
  • Conceptualized and implemented promotional materials to increase average number of guests

Don’t omit relevant experience

Many candidates skip experience that I’d love to see, like a salesperson at a local retail store who reached sales goals, in favor of something they think sounds better, like Administrative Assistant at a Fortune 500 company. Every recruiter is different, but most of my recruiter friends would agree job duties trump the fancy company.

Light experience doesn’t have to look like light experience

This does not mean you should bullet point every single task. I’ve seen resumes describing a 3 month internship that were more than a page long. Share the important highlights and save something to talk about in the interview.

Utilize a creative format and appropriate font size to utilize space the right way, but don’t resort to random quotes, irrelevant graphics or other fillers. They only make sense to you.

Your resume should reflect your level of experience

Oftentimes, people with a decade worth of experience opt for the same format as someone fresh out of college.

If you are experienced, recruiters should be able to tell with just a glance. Think Summary vs. Objective and functional vs. traditional.

On the other hand, a new college grad using this format could get overlooked because a recruiter might assume you are seeking mid to upper level opportunities. The same goes for an applicant with an Executive Summary applying for an internship.

Your resume should be appropriate for the job you are seeking

I once received a resume that looked more like an advertisement. It was 3 pages long, the first two dedicated to videos created, classes taken and, for some reason, loads of exclamation points. (Yikes!) There was no mention of actual jobs held until the final page. All of this for an internship.

While I applaud the candidate’s creativity, and it might have been a huge hit at a marketing firm, it wasn’t the right approach for my sales internship. This candidate’s language was also too casual and too familiar.

While all of this might seem obvious, resumes that come across recruiters’ desks daily don’t lie. Many people struggle in this area. Don’t be of them. Use these tips to make sure yours is the best reflection of you.

 

First Job: Salary Negotiation

Image from smartcanucks.ca

Image from smartcanucks.ca

Like many of you, when I graduated from college I cast a wide net, searching for career opportunities in several cities. The first offer I received was from a radio station in a little town–which meant little pay. Not to mention, it was in the middle of nowhere. So the search continued, this time closer to home, with hopes of a better offer.

I don’t remember at what point salary came up when I accepted my first job, but it was about $5000 more than the offer I’d declined, so I seized it like a hungry dog on a pork chop.  I got lucky–well, blessed. I’d been praying about this job in particular, and knew it was the opportunity for me.

During the interview process, I had no idea when to ask about pay or what would be fair. Back then, we didn’t have the internet at our fingertips and sites like Glassdoor as a resource. The rule was, never bring money up in the first interview. Now, having spoken to several recruiters, I’ve discovered we all have different opinions. I go over pay during my first phone call, but I still feel it is in poor taste to ask about salary at a career fair.

Interviewing in itself is nerve-racking, but salary negotiation can also unleash a swarm of butterflies in the guts of even seasoned employees. The idea, according to What Color is Your Parachute (a must-read),  is to let the employer bring up salary first.

A Starting Point

Many companies that hire for entry-level positions have a set salary, regardless of experience. This  gives you the opportunity to make an impact, prove your worth, and benefit from promotions, perks and salary increases.

This is what I discovered. During my tenure my responsibilities have grown to include managing the hiring process for 50 branches and 2 airports. Some of my perks include a company car and an expense account, and I have earned more than 6 weeks of vacation. With each promotion my starting pay became a distant memory.

The Total Package

That being said, don’t feel like you’ve lost out if initially there is no room for negotiation. Remember to consider not just the dollar amount, but the total compensation package.

  • Advancement opportunities
  • Travel
  • Paid time off
  • A work-from-home option
  • Health benefits (medical, dental, optical) and the cost per pay period
  • Company car (now or upon promotion)
  • Retirement (401k, 503c, 403b, profit-sharing, stock options, pension)

There are other things to take into account but, most important, can that company take you where you want to go in the time you want to get there, assuming that timeframe is reasonable?  Unless you are the owner or the child of the owner, you probably won’t become CEO in two years.

Negotiating Tips

Here are a few tips from The Doyle Report on about.com that can guide you through the salary conversation. If the company has a firm starting point, it never hurts to ask. In fact, it can demonstrate your initiative and confidence to the recruiter. As my grandmother says, “Nothing beats a failure but a try.”.

Good luck, and make it a great day!

5 Tips For Nailing Your Next Phone Screening

Great insight on acing a phone screen!

The Job Shop Blog

phone

Author:Don GoodmanSource:Careerealism.com

When you have the employer calling and saying they want to schedule a phone interview with you, that means you look good on paper and they now want to see if you are all that you say you are.

The phone screening is a critical stage in the job search process because how well you communicate and perform will pave the way to the big opportunity of a meeting at their office with the decision makers.

In most instances, the phone screening is conducted by someone from HR. They’ll primarily review your professionalism and communication skills to see if you are articulate, knowledgeable and have the right experience and skills for the job. The ultimate mission is to screen out candidates so that the ones who are invited for an in-person meeting are the best in the bunch.

So here’s how you can ace the…

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Thoughts: Dream Jobs

Food for thought…

Sincerely, Loewe

Lately, there is one question that I like to ask people: if money is not a factor but you have to work, what would you do?

Having been in school for several years already, there is a lot of talk surrounding future careers and work within my circle of friends. The talk is very one directional- if you’ve been studying accounting for the past four years, you’ll probably be an auditor after graduation. All of our answers and our final destinations follow a logical timeline.

But I wonder what we would actually be doing if we don’t have to worry about making “a living”. Putting aside what is “realistic”, isn’t the answer to this question your true dream job?

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