If you’re choosing between two jobs, congratulations! All of the hard work from your job search has paid off.
But once the celebrating is over, you have a real dilemma on your hands. When it comes to deciding between two jobs, how can you make the right choice?
To help you make up your mind, here are six tips on comparing job offers so you can pick the one that offers you the most fulfilling future.
1. Consider how each job aligns with your long-term career goals
When you’re interviewing for a job, you want to prove you’re the best person for the role and that the organization can’t live without you. Once you have two job offers on the table, though, it’s time to consider how these job prospects align with your career goals.
Instead of focusing on what you can do for the company, consider what each company can do for you. Go over everything you learned about the job, organization, and culture during the interview process.
Then, ask yourself the following questions:
- Which job still lines up with my career goals?
- Does one job have more opportunities for growth than the other?
- Which job will challenge me?
- Which job offers me the chance to learn new skills?
If you’re having trouble deciding between two jobs, consider both through the lens of your long-term goals. Consider which position holds the most promise, and choose the one that will get you where you want to go.
2. Weigh salary with personal satisfaction
When choosing between two jobs, an easy question comes to mind: Which one pays more?
Of course, salary isn’t the only important factor. Personal satisfaction is also paramount. So what happens if the job you don’t really want pays a lot more than the one you do?
If this is the case, you’ll need to weigh whether a higher salary will make up for a job you don’t like. Sure, you’ll have more money to spend outside of work. But if you’re bored 40 or more hours per week, a higher salary might not boost your happiness much.
“My first job decision was between a financial consulting firm and an online education company,” said Augustin Kennady, media relations director for ShipMonk. “While it offered less money, the online education company was the right decision at the time. It also gave me the skills I needed to succeed in my next position.
“I strongly recommend that you decide on your job not necessarily for the money, but for how closely the offer aligns with your values,” he added.
You also might try negotiating for more money. Practice your salary negotiation tactics, and find out if you can increase your earnings or snag better benefits.
If one position’s pay is so low you won’t be able to support yourself, you should probably go with the other one. But if both salaries meet your needs, you might be better off choosing a more fulfilling job.
3. Assess the culture of each workplace
Many hiring managers assess cultural fit during an interview. They want to make sure you’ll fit in well with their organization. But cultural fit isn’t a one-way street. You also need to decide whether each company is a good fit for you.
If you’ve ever been in a toxic work environment, you know how tiring it can get day after day. Even if you’re passionate about the company’s mission, you’ll lose steam in an uncomfortable workplace. On the flip side, you might develop a passion for a company if its culture makes you feel valued and challenged.
When choosing between two jobs, learn more about the culture of each workplace. You might ask your interviewer about it or reach out to current employees. Or you could investigate employee reviews online.
“Utilizing the insights compiled by review sites is integral to seeing your work life before you live it,” said Sofia Koon, PR manager at kununu, a site that gathers employee reviews. “Just as people review everything online, why shouldn’t jobs be the same? The more research done, the more likely you are to find your champion in the working world.”
Figure out what you’re looking for — whether it’s a culture of collaboration, independence, flexibility, or new challenges. Then, opt for the company where you’d be the best cultural fit.
4. Compare your two prospective managers
Have you ever heard that people quit managers, not companies? Your direct manager has a big impact on your experience at work.
A bad manager could make you lose motivation or even want to quit, Jerry Maguire-style. But a good manager will motivate you, as well as help you learn and grow.
“One of my biggest career mistakes so far was to not assess my future manager’s skills beforehand,” said Jéssica Carmona of Guarana Technologies. “Making sure you have the right person above you is important, especially in your early years.”
Your manager might even serve as a mentor figure, guiding you on your professional development. When choosing between two jobs, learn about your potential new managers.
You might ask how they help new hires transition into the role or what promotional tracks are available. Or you could speak to current employees about their experiences with the manager.
“I make sure to ask the right questions to make sure they’ll be a good fit for me just as much as I’ll be for them,” said Carmona.”I make sure I only get placed in companies where I’ll be able to grow in a healthy environment, under managers with the right profile for my career moment.”
5. Write down a typical day in each role
If you’re wondering how to decide between two jobs, the decision probably isn’t clear-cut. Both roles have pros and cons, and neither is obviously superior to the other.
One way to cut through the confusion is to list out a typical day in each role. As you make your list, ask yourself these questions:
- What will I be working on every day?
- Who will I interact with?
- Does the job involve travel?
- What’s my commute like?
- How’s the office building?
- What are my options for lunch?
“Make a big comparison chart,” advised Valerie Streif, senior advisor at Mentat. “Having it all written out and in front of you can help you to understand what you’d be getting into with each job option.
“This can also be a way to get more information about each offer,” Streif added. “If there are pieces that you realize you are missing, you can take the steps to fill in the blanks.”
Consider all the details of a typical day in the job, and envision yourself going through the motions. If the two jobs are similar in all other respects, your choice could come to a small detail, like a shorter commute or more attractive workplace.
6. Trust your intuition
Once you’ve done your research and made your lists, step back and check in with your inner voice. Ask yourself:
- Are my lists pushing me toward one job or the other?
- Which job excites me?
- What are my instincts telling me to do?
“Trust yourself,” said Streif. “You know you and your work preferences better than anyone. If friends or family are urging you to go against your gut because one option may seem more prestigious, but you know you’d be happier with the alternative, trust yourself. It’s you who will have to work there.”
Sometimes, you have to take a risk and leap into the job that excites you. If you’re still figuring out what that is, learn how to find the right career in 10 steps.
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