When I first graduated from college, after months of searching for a job, I found myself in the unique position of receiving offers from two companies I actually wanted to work for. It goes without saying that I was beyond thrilled — but I also wasn't 100-percent sure how to choose between the two job offers. It's no secret that searching for a job can be frustrating, and while it's exciting to find yourself fielding two attractive job offers, there are definitely some important things to evaluate before making your decision. Though you might be tempted to take the job with the higher salary, money isn't the only factor to consider when deciding which job is right for you.
"Before making a vital decision about where you are going to spend the next few years of your life, think about why you were interviewing for each job in the first place," Alex Aberle, career coach and president of XCaliber Coaching & Consulting, tells Bustle. "In the end, your choice will determine what lessons you will be learning during the next stage of your career." She adds that sometimes instant gratification trumps long-term fulfillment, and that decision should be made for specific reasons, like when you need the higher salary to pay your bills or those ever-present student loans.
"In this instance, choosing a job that pays more will enable you to afford your basic living — shelter, food, clothing, and other needs, for the time being." This was definitely a factor for me when deciding between two job offers right out of college. I chose the job that paid more, even though it didn't come with health insurance. Aside from the higher salary, this job was also in the city I wanted to live in whereas the other job was located in a place where I didn't know a single person. After less than a year at this job I was able to get on my feet, and I eventually left for a job with a lower salary but that was more in line with my long-term career goals. It turned out to be the right decision for me.
If you're currently making pro-and-con lists to help you decide which job offer to accept, Aberle outlines several ways you can help identify which job is right for you right now.
Identify Which Job Offers The Best Opportunities
Identify your career goals and decide which job is more likely to help you meet them. Which company offers you room to grow and will invest in your professional development? Read reviews on sites like Glassdoor to see what current and past employees have to say about each company.
Evaluate The Interview Process
Job interviews are tough, and you might be so nervous that you neglect to properly assess your experience interviewing with each company. Some jobs might sound amazing during the interview but actually be a nightmare IRL. Pay attention to what's not being said. If the interviewer is vague and refuses to answer your questions, it might be best to walk away.
Aberle recommends carefully considering both the facts that were presented to you during the interview and how the interview made you feel. "Ask yourself, how timely, responsive, and genuine, willing to share, etc. was the employer throughout the entire process? How extensive was the process? Did it bother you in any way that it took seven interviews to get an offer? Pay attention to what matters to you most."
Remember, The Devil Is In The Details
After you've identified your values and career goals, and assessed the interview process, examine what each company brings to the table. What's the healthcare package like? Will you get a 401(k)? What about vacation time and professional development?
"Which company places a higher value on your skills, education, and experience? Does this compensation include long-term investment in you as an individual? Here is grim reality; employers know that nowadays people move from one job to the next frequently throughout their career," Aberle says. "They are no longer as loyal to the employees because employees are not as loyal to them. If you see that the employer is investing in you up front, that is a great sign that they are willing to contribute to your long-term development. If you are offered a lower salary, but an employer is offering more intangible benefits that will benefit your overall career development, that is also a good sign that they could be loyal to you in return for your excellent contributions."
Once the excitement of receiving two job offers wears off, pause and reflect in order to make sure you're taking a job that's the best fit for you at this particular time in your life. Accepting an offer doesn't mean you have to stay there forever. If you do end up making the wrong choice, all is not lost. The time you do spend at each job will provide valuable lessons, and each experience will help you grow. This my friends, is priceless.