While the COVID-19 global pandemic resulted in many lost jobs and increased unemployment, statistics show the market is quickly bouncing back, which means that many professionals now find themselves on the job hunt. Even many of those who are currently employed find themselves seeking new or better opportunities.
With the financial stress that many individuals have seen in recent months, salary is becoming an even greater factor when considering taking on a new role. It’s certainly understandable, especially in today’s environment, that financial compensation plays a large role when making career decisions. But, is that all you should consider when looking for a new job?
For long-term career enjoyment and success, it’s important to also look beyond the job description, title and base salary. Accepting a role after only considering these items may leave you disengaged and disheartened in your career. And while it may seem obvious that there’s more to work than money, it can be hard to weigh—or even identify—the other factors in order to see the bigger picture.
Here, I’ve outlined four additional factors (aside from salary) that can be game-changers if you’re making decisions about a new role.
1. Opportunity for Career Progression
Career progression is typically defined as the idea of climbing the ladder. And, while that may be your interest, this kind of advancement isn’t necessarily the desire of every working professional.
Define career progression in terms of your professional desire. Is it being promoted? Is it simply finding new challenges? Is it gaining access to new learning opportunities?
Your idea of career progression doesn’t have to conform to the textbook definition. Instead, it must be whatever is best for you and for the good of your career! Consider the factors that can help you make the most of your own career in the ways that are most meaningful to you.
Next, express your goals and your plan. The company may not be able to hand you your dream job today, but what about tomorrow? What about a year from now?
Does the new role you’re considering offer you opportunities in the ways you’d like to progress?
2. Company Reputation and Employer Brand
Do you want to work for a company that shows appreciation to team members, knows the names of your family members or prioritizes the individual success of the employees that drive their business? What’s important to you when it comes to a company’s reputation and its employer brand?
It’s important to do your research on the company’s reputation within the community and within its own team. Read reviews, study the website and consider the comments of those who have first-hand experience with the company.
Do their testimonials line up with the kind of company you want to work for?
The detailed job description can explain a lot about the role, but there is more to be learned. Dig deeper, read comments and ask the tough questions—to yourself and to the hiring manager.
3. Meaningful Work and Work-Life Balance
Are you proud of your work (or the work you’d be doing) and the impact that it has on others inside and outside of the organization? What things do you value apart from your career? Consider why you do what you do and what’s most important to you and think through what ideal work-life balance looks like.
Do you want to work for a company that provides you with the flexibility to attend your kids’ ball games? Do you want to work for a company that allows you to step away when needed or to shut the work down at the end of the day without taking it home with you? Do you want to work for a company that values your home life in addition to your work life?
It’s great to be committed to hard work, but it’s also important to define your expectations about work-life balance and to ensure your future employer can meet them before accepting a new role.
4. Working Culture
A company’s culture is the set of shared values, attitudes, goals and practices that characterize an organization. Working culture will be developed whether a company does so intentionally or unintentionally.
Is the company that you are considering working for treating you and their staff as you would like to be treated? Can you support the company’s mission and initiatives? Do you agree with the values they profess? Do they act out those same values?
It can be hard to glimpse the true culture of a company as someone on the outside of it, but it’s important to try.
Measuring Success and Considering Factors Besides Salary
How do you measure success in your career? Does your definition of success include more than money? If so, it’s important to consider those factors when looking for and taking on a new job.
The decision of taking on a new position can be one of the biggest decisions we make in our professional lives and should have many factors to consider first. It’s easy to see a step up in title or an increase in pay as the flashing light we need in guiding us into our next career move. However, it’s important to consider more, depending on what’s most important to you.
Even more importantly, remember that it’s also okay to stay exactly where you are if it’s what’s best for you, even if that means passing on what others may consider the impassable offer.