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How to compare job offers and find the best fit for you

Congratulations! You've received not one job offer, but two or more. Being wanted by more than one employer is an enviable position for a job seeker.

However, securing multiple job offers means you now have to make an important decision. Which one will you accept?

Whether you're entering the workforce for the first time as a new grad or making a job change midway through your career, the position you accept is likely to have a major impact on your life —financially, socially, and professionally—possibly for years to come.

Five Job Features to Consider

Choosing the right position among multiple offers can seem daunting. But instead of getting overwhelmed, get strategic. The key to making the right decision is to carefully consider and compare each of the following five components. Try a classic approach and write out a pros and cons list, seeing the differences on paper can help make your decision clearer.

1. Compensation Package

It's easy to assume you should simply choose the job with the highest salary or signing bonus, but there's more to your compensation package to consider.

If one offer doesn't pay enough salary to meet your needs, you should probably set it aside or adjust your living situation. But assuming all the offers can cover your expenses, look beyond salary at the complete compensation package.

For example, if an employer is offering to pay 100% of your health insurance coverage, that could be worth several hundred dollars extra each month. Consider other less common benefits like pet insurance and parental leave as well. 

Tuition reimbursement and 401k matching are also important factors in a compensation package. If an employer is willing to match your retirement savings up to a percentage of your salary, that is “extra money". Make sure you're comparing all the benefits to understand the entire compensation package each employer is offering.

2. Growth Opportunities

According to a 2020 study from the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, workers change jobs on average every 4.2 years. 

Because most people change jobs fairly often, it may be helpful to view each position as a step up to the next desired position. As you consider the job offers on the table, explore the potential growth opportunities they offer. Those could take various forms, such as room for advancement within the same organization, opportunities to build a broader professional network that will allow you to connect with other potential employers, or access to training and development that will prepare you for future growth.

3. Work Location

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, searches for remote positions have increased 360 percent, according to Glassdoor data. If you're one of the growing numbers of people who prefer to work from home some or all the time, work location may be an important priority in choosing between multiple job offers.

If you'll be working on-site, will you need to relocate? Consider your commute time/expense and how it will affect your lifestyle. Also, think about any amenities that may or may not be available on-site, such as free lunches, workout facilities, parking, and subsidized childcare programs.

4. Marketability of new skills

In most positions, you'll be expected to acquire some new skills and knowledge. Find out what you'll be learning in each potential position and consider whether those new skills and knowledge may increase your marketability for future jobs.

For example, if you'll be learning new software programs that are widely used in your industry, that could be helpful for meeting qualifications for a future position. However, if you'll just be learning unique procedures that are specific to a particular employer, those skills may not be especially helpful for other jobs.

5. Cultural fit

Finally, take time to think about the culture of each employer you're considering. If possible, talk to current employees to find out what it's really like to work there, read online employee reviews and spend time scrolling through the company's social media pages.

“As a job applicant, you want to find a culture that aligns with your values, or the ethics that guide you, fulfill you, and make you feel a sense of purpose," according to Harvard Business Review. “Misalignments that take shape in the form of, say, an employer that insists you work late nights and weekends, or an organization that fails to show their commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, can impact your day-to-day well-being, dampen your motivation, and in extreme cases, result in physical illness."

Figure out the type of corporate culture that is important for you, and decide whether each employer you're considering can provide it.

Making the Decision

Some of these career components will be more important to you than others. After you understand the pros and cons for each category, it might be an obvious decision. If not, make sure you know which career features are your priority. Maybe you value growth opportunities more than compensation. Knowing your priorities going into your job search will help make your decision easier.

Choosing between multiple job offers is an important decision, but keep in mind that accepting a job doesn't mean you're signing a lifelong contract. If, after working in the job you've chosen for several months, you decide it isn't a good fit for you, you can always look for another position. And if you've already had to choose between multiple offers, you're likely to be able to secure another tempting offer.

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