by Emily Dreiling, Guest Contributor
When you are in “search” mode, the task of finding a full-time job becomes a full-time job in itself: tailoring resumes, searching online databases, updating your LinkedIn profile and jumping at every ring of the phone for the call you have been waiting for.
Then comes the email with the title “Job Offer.”
You made it past the electronic gatekeeper. You knocked the interview out of the park and now the offer is waiting, but before you jump at the first job that comes your way here are 10 things you may want to consider before replying “Accept.”
10 Things Working Military Spouses May Want to Consider When Considering a Job Offer
1. Do the Benefits Offered Match Your Needs
While a great health care plan may be a selling point to many potential employees, with Tricare this can be a point of negotiation for military spouses.
Turn this high cost benefit to an employer into a potential for additional benefits that can be beneficial to you: additional salary, vacation, etc. Find out what is negotiable to tailor the benefits of the company to your needs.
As the military is 1% of the population the benefit packages for the other 99% doesn’t always match what we are looking for. It is always easier to determine the negotiable benefits before you start a new position.
2. Google Your Potential Employer
We live in a digital era, use it to your advantage. While we all know you can’t trust everything you read online, do your homework. Moving to a new area can be tricky in finding word-of-mouth recommendations on a company.
3. Consider the Commute
When moving to a new city it can be hard to understand what the reality of point A to point B really is. Use Google maps during the times of your daily commute to view real time traffic on what will be the reality of your new commute. Understand that driving 1 mile during rush hour in California can take 1 hour while driving 20 miles in rural Missouri can be 20 minutes. Factor the cost of time and money into your decision.
4. What Was Your First Impression?
The saying you only get one chance to make a first impression goes both ways for you and your future employer. How did you feel about your potential future employer when you first spoke, although it may not always be perfection upon first meeting don’t ignore red flags.
Use those same skills you perfected while surviving in the dating world and apply them to your work search. The little things you ignore will eventually become big problems.
5. Ask Yourself: Is Now the Right Time to Start a Job?
While it is never easy to push the pause button on your career after relocating, it is even harder to have to leave shortly after starting.
Make sure you are employment ready before accepting a job.
Have you secured reliable childcare if needed, found a home in your new area, and have reliable transportation to get to your new job? If you have large pending life events like the birth of a child or prescheduled absence that you can’t adjust make sure your employer is aware of these before you start so the expectations of both parties are understood.
You don’t want your only work history in a new city to view you negatively because you jumped into something too soon or you and your employer weren’t on the same page about your current situation.
6. What Will I Learn From This Job?
As military spouses we typically can’t commit to a 5-year plan, but we can commit to ensuring every day we go to work we will give 100% and the programs we work for will be left in better shape than the day we arrived. With that we need to ensure the positions we accept provide career experience and opportunities that will allow us to grow professionally regardless of how long we are employed with the company.
7. Are Flex Hours or Telecommuting an Option?
The perfect job schedule is a combination of an alternative work schedule with flex hours and the telecommute option when needed, but this isn’t always a reality. It is always something that is worth asking about. While company A may offer a higher salary company B may offer flexibility. Determine how much this intangible variable factors into your day-to-day happiness at work and life in general.
8. Does the Job Environment Match Your Personality?
Do you work well with others or do others work well with you? You want to make sure if you are an extrovert you aren’t unhappy working in an isolated cubical all day. Understand the scope of your daily duties and make sure they match your personality and interest.
9. Will My Professional Experience & Opinion Be Valued?
As a military spouse you bring experience, different perspectives and ideas formulated from years of traveling the world.
Will your ideas be valued and incorporated into your new corporate culture or will you be viewed as a wild card failing to conform to previously established standards of tradition?
Ensure your company will value you and your ideas. Are they known for adapting with the times? Do their employees skills match current industry standard? The answers to these questions are indicators that speak to the company’s culture.
10. Trust Your Gut
No matter how many factors you consider sometimes there are things you can’t explain that are pushing you toward or away from a job opportunity. Don’t forget to listen to the unexplainable factors, they can oftentimes be telling you the things you can’t analyze on paper in a salary or benefits compensation.
What are the factors you consider when considering a job offer?
Emily is a Work Life Specialist for the Air Force, busy mom, and military spouse, currently living in California with her husband of twelve years. She received her Master of Science degree from the University of Central Missouri and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Maryland University College Europe. When she is not working or spending time with her family, she is busy exploring California and giving back to the community by volunteering. She loves staying current on news and legal policy impacting military families and military spouse employment advocacy. She feels lucky she has found a crossroad where her passion for helping people and her professional career have come together for the perfect career path. You can connect with Emily on LinkedIn.