Friday, July 25, 2014

Things to Consider When Looking for "The Job"

Don't let anyone fool you. Looking for a job is just as hard as finding your next S.O. There are so many things to consider and, depending on your priorities, you're next step might be an unexpected one. So here's a little list to think about for all those in the boat that I (just) jumped off of.
1. Location, Location, Location- Location is more important than most people give it credit for. 123 Corporation is only 20 minutes away in the middle of the day on a Friday, but it could be an hour and a half commute Monday morning at 8am. Never underestimate the power of traffic. As someone familiar with the DC beltway, I say this with the hope that you will be spared the agony that I once suffered. Also, how are you getting to your location? Car? Is there parking? How many spots and how much is it going to cost? Parking costs of $200-300 a month can really cut into your monthly pay. Suddenly the job that offers a couple grand a year higher doesn't look so great-- next tax bracket + parking fee? Might as well take the lower paying job and then ask for a raise.
2. Upward Mobility- This was something that was important to me. If you take the job with the company, where will you be in 5 years? Will you be at the same desk, with the same pay, doing the same tasks? As a young professional my goal is to go up. While I know I have to start at a desk doing smaller, menial tasks I don't want to stay there. Some companies like to promote internally when spaces open and others hire for a position and keep people as long as they will stay. Learn about the company's culture and engage with your interviewer about their experience. The culture will tell you a lot about the company itself and how you will fare down the line.
3. Responsibilities- You're coming to the table with a set of skills. Don't undersell yourself and remember that even informal jobs count. Did you nanny on the weekends? Congrats, you have problem solving skills! Take your experiences and figure out how (or whether) potential jobs will capitalize on your strengths and expand your skill set. While the job may not be in your field it may give you a set of skills that you can then use to launch yourself into the job of your dreams. The more responsibilities you take on early in your career the better you will be when applying for intermediate and upper positions.

4. People- I don't want to be miserable all day. Going to work with people you dislike is like being back in high school and sitting at the wrong table. You feel awkward, you really don't want to be there, and it turns the entire experience sour. Despite how much you may enjoy the tasks you do at your job, there are going to be days when you're exhausted and don't want to leave your bed. If you like the people you're going to be with most of the day, most of the week, you are far more likely to crawl out from under the covers and drag your sleepy butt to the office. And, even more important, you'll have people to sit and laugh with during the ever-valued happy hour. 
5. Pay- This is just practical. Can you afford to live on what they are offering you? If the answer is no and you don't have financial support you should probably walk away. Even though you spend a lot of time at work, eventually you DO have to go home, which means you need to be able to afford a place to live. And food. Seriously, food is the best.
What's important to you when looking for a job?
Share below!

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