Posted by Brian McCullough
When I got back from vacation this week, I had an Ask Brian question waiting for me that was very specific. It boiled down to: “I have two job offers. Which one should I accept?”
I did my best to help the emailer, but that sort of question is not one I can usually share here on the blog. It was too personal and specific.
But it did get me thinking about the larger issue. How to decide between job offers? I realized that I didn’t have a solid answer to this question.
So, I sent an email out to some of our ResumeWriters.com writers and asked them how they have dealt with this issue over the years. Here are the three best responses I got:
Richard has been with us for years, specializing in legal and academic resumes. His comment was as follows:
More often than not, I’ve found that people in this sort of situation are trying to decide between a job they want, and a job they think they should take. The job they think they should take usually pays better or is the next logical step on the career ladder. But so often, it’s not the job they want to take. I’ve seldom gone wrong advising people to go with their heart. Doing something that makes you happy is worth a lot more than money, I think.
Writer Sarah is a jack-of-all trades who specializes in young professionals as well as sales and accounting resumes:
If a client isn’t sure what job to take, it’s usually because they aren’t sure of their career path. If you have a goal in mind, a solid career plan, then you know which job you should take. Each and every job should be a solid advancement toward your ultimate goal. I ask people to think where they want to be in 20 years. Which job gets them closer to that goal? That’s the one they should take.
Writer Carly has been with us for almost 10 years. She’s a solid pro in the industry and I trust her career counseling advice as much as anyone. Her comment was more philosophical:
I once had a client who had landed his dream job. Absolutely landed it. But it was in LA. And he didn’t want to go there. He knew on a certain level he didn’t want to go there. He was happy where he was. His family was happy where they were. But this was the culmination of his entire career. It was the job he had dreamed of in college. What to do? If he stayed where he was, he was stuck in a sort of limbo in terms of career progress. But he didn’t WANT to go to California. His priorities were different. Even though he had dreamed of this job for 20 years.
He called me one day a couple of weeks after we had finished his resume. He said he had had an actual dream where he was in California, waking up in the morning, going to this so-called dream job. And in the dream, he was miserable. He knew he was chasing a vision of his career that wasn’t important to him anymore. So he declined the LA job. Ever since then, I’ve advised my clients to imagine waking up in the morning and actually getting ready and commuting to one job versus the other. Which imaginary commute makes you miserable and which can you tolerate? That’s the best sort of test, I think.
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