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10 Things Almost Everyone Forgets to Consider When Accepting A Job Offer

10 Things Almost Everyone Forgets to Consider When Accepting A Job Offer

The feeling is sensational. Euphoric. There’s nothing quite like it. For a few brief moments when that outstretched hand reaches toward you, you feel invincible, important, and untouchable. You’ve just been offered a new job.

It’s easy to get caught up in this moment, nod furiously, and clasp the hand opposite in an excited fit of appreciation. Someone wants your services and is willing to pay you for them – it’s no wonder you feel a little giddy.

But what else is this person really offering you? What sort of position will this new job put you in? There are several elements you really ought to consider before accepting the offer of a new job, and listed here are 10 typical things that pretty much everyone forgets to take into account when it comes to deciding whether to add that new company to your resume.

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1. Sacrifice

One of the main things that people really forget to take into account when it comes to accepting a new job is what they will realistically have to sacrifice in order to fulfil their new duties. A new role – whatever it may be – comes with new responsibilities, and it’s absolutely vital to make sure that you get a good idea of what the new position will involve and whether you can amend your social calendar accordingly. What will you have to give up in order to succeed? And is this really viable?

2. Environment

Meeting your fellow employees for the first time is always an uneasy, awkward experience. You may often feel like a spare part when you’re a newbie, and without the right people around you, you may end up feeling that way for the rest of your time in that position. Before you accept a job offer, ask to meet some of your new fellow employees. These are the people who you will be spending over forty hours a week with, so it’s absolutely essential that you’re amicable with them. Being in the wrong work environment is damaging for your career, your well-being, and even your mental health. Don’t take a leap of faith when you’re offered a new position – make a conscious effort to introduce yourself before you even accept the position. If your boss is a good one, they’ll be more than happy to let you.

3. Stability

Starting a new job isn’t much good if you end up walking out the door after a few weeks. When it comes to accepting a new position, make sure you are financially and contractually secure in every aspect. A lot of people never consider the prospect of being made redundant just a few weeks after starting their new job. After all, you’d have to be incredibly unlucky for it to happen to you, right? ‘Fraid not. There are several industries out there who are prone to making forced lay-offs, and no new job is ever 100% secure. Take the state of the current economy and financial climate into account before shaking hands, and do some independent research into the financial welfare of the firm you’re all set to become a part of. Can this company really afford you? And if so, for how long? Always make sure you’ve settled on stability before accepting a job; in writing too. Verbal contracts aren’t much use when redundancy hour rolls in.

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4. Your own lifestyle changes

Okay, so everyone takes salary into account when it comes to being offered a new job. In many people’s cases, it’s the motivational factor for applying for positions that otherwise seem somewhat mundane. But what a lot of people don’t take into consideration with regards to pay is whether this is enough to live on if circumstances were to change. There’s no problem with thinking about the “now”, but before accepting a job, you need to think about the future too. Life is spectacularly unpredictable, and just weeks after accepting a job that has a perfect pay rate for you to live on as a single person, it might no longer seem like such a healthy wage if a new partner and family are lying in wait around the corner. You can’t always plan when you’re going to fall in love and have a family, but you can plan which job you’ll take so that you have some insurance cash to fall back on if things turn chaotic around the corner. Don’t settle for stable living – look at the job offer and determine whether the pay rate will be enough to get you through more financially burdening times that might lie ahead.

5. Benefits

A lot of companies offer some great looking benefits on paper, and when you’re on the verge of accepting a new job at an exciting and well-established business firm at a young age, any benefits at all seem delightfully appealing. Whilst the word “benefits” does a great job of leaping off the page at you, in reality, it’s a word that can be startlingly misleading. Benefits may be exactly what they say on the tin, but are they necessarily right for you? When accepting a job offer, make sure you’re getting the type of benefits that you deserve and need in order to live comfortably.

6. Commuting

Sure, that commute from your place to your new work location looks completely doable on paper, but have you actually put it to the test? One of the biggest mistakes people can make before accepting a job offer is merely assume that travelling to work won’t be an issue. You can’t put your whole faith in interactive maps – the journey from your home location to your new place of work is something you have to complete for yourself in order to determine how long it will actually take you. Before accepting any new job offer, be sure to practice the commute route a couple of times, ideally during rush hour, to get a realistic sense of how long it will take you to reach work every day. Long journeys to your daily job will take their toll on your health and may even put your new career in jeopardy if you’re turning up late on a regular basis.

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7. Challenge

Many people consider their dream job to be getting money for sitting around with their feet up and a big ol’ glass of good wine in hand. Sounds blissful, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, the human mind wouldn’t take long to fall apart if we lived our lives like that every single day of the week. Our brains need stimulation and challenge for happiness and development, and you need to make sure that your prospective new position is going to offer you the kinds of challenges that will make you want to succeed and better yourself. It may not always feel like it, but challenge and a decent dose of hard work is actually extremely good for you. That’s why sitting around with your feet up and a big ol’ glass of good wine in hand feels so good when you actually find time for it: it’s because you’ve earned it.

8. Pride

Many people treat working as something that ought to be left at the office and never discussed outside of those four walls. But this is no way to live your life. Studies have shown that you can spend as much as 32% of your entire life at work. Ask yourself this: is it really worth having to dedicate almost a third of your total time on this planet to being bored and miserable? Before you accept a job offer, make sure it’s one that you can enjoy and be proud of. Something that you don’t mind getting up for, and something you can happily discuss without feeling nauseous.

9. Stress

Simply put: there is no perfect job on this planet. Every occupation comes with a certain degree of stress, and that’s just the way that life is. What you can do, however, is determine whether you will be able to realistically handle the amount of stress this new job might impose on your life, or whether it will leak into other areas and damage you completely. A lot of people who are offered a job that comes slapped with a warning sticker for stress usually dismiss the caution and claim they’ll be able to deal with it when the time comes. This is always a mistake. Before accepting any new job, sit down and look at what the position requires of you. Can you realistically achieve the targets set for you? Becoming wildly stressed will place a huge strain on your health as well as on your social life, so make sure that your new job is going to be something that’s both manageable and fun – not something that’s going to give you a heart attack.

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10. Opportunity 

What exactly does your new job offer you in terms of opportunities? Does it provide you with some juicy substance for you resumé? Will it allow you to gain knowledge and develop within a particular industry? Can it act as a stepping stone to greater things? These are all questions that you need to take into consideration when accepting a job offer, as it’s all too easy to see a nice wage scrawled down on paper and jump right in. A good job should open you up to other opportunities.

Featured photo credit: picjumbo Viktor Hanacek via picjumbo.com

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Gareth Lloyd

Freelance Writer

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Last Updated on March 25, 2020

How to Set Ambitious Career Goals (With Examples)

How to Set Ambitious Career Goals (With Examples)

Taking your work to the next level means setting and keeping career goals. A career goal is a targeted objective that explains what you want your ultimate profession to be.

Defining career goals is a critical step to achieving success. You need to know where you’re going in order to get there. Knowing what your career goals are isn’t just important for you–it’s important for potential employers too. The relationship between an employer and an employee works best when your goals for the future and their goals align. Saying, “Oh, I don’t know. I’ll do anything,” makes you seem indecisive, and opens you up to taking on ill-fitting tasks that won’t lead you to your dream life.

Career goal templates’ one-size-fits-all approach won’t consider your unique goals and experiences. They won’t help you stand out, and they may not reflect your full potential.

In this article, I’ll help you to define your career goals with SMART goal framework, and will provide you with a list of examples goals for work and career.

How to Define Your Career Goal with SMART

Instead of relying on a generalized framework to explain your vision, use a tried-and-true goal-setting model. SMART is an acronym for “Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, Realistic with Timelines.”[1] The SMART framework demystifies goals by breaking them into smaller steps.

Helpful hints when setting SMART career goals:

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  • Start with short-term goals first. Work on your short-term goals, and then progress the long-term interests.[2] Short-term goals are those things which take 1-3 years to complete. Long-term goals take 3-5 years to do. As you succeed in your short-term goals, that success should feed into accomplishing your long-term goals.
  • Be specific, but don’t overdo it. You need to define your career goals, but if you make them too specific, then they become unattainable. Instead of saying, “I want to be the next CEO of Apple, where I’ll create a billion-dollar product,” try something like, “My goal is to be the CEO of a successful company.”
  • Get clear on how you’re going to reach your goals. You should be able to explain the actions you’ll take to advance your career. If you can’t explain the steps, then you need to break your goal down into more manageable chunks.
  • Don’t be self-centered. Your work should not only help you advance, but it should also support the goals of your employer. If your goals differ too much, then it might be a sign that the job you’ve taken isn’t a good fit.

If you want to learn more about setting SMART Goals, watch the video below to learn how you can set SMART career goals.

After you’re clear on how to set SMART goals, you can use this framework to tackle other aspects of your work. For instance, you might set SMART goals to improve your performance review, look for a new job, or shift your focus to a different career.

We’ll cover examples of ways to use SMART goals to meet short-term career goals in the next section.

Why You Need an Individual Development Plan

Setting goals is one part of the larger formula for success. You may know what you want to do, but you also have to figure out what skills you have, what you lack, and where your greatest strengths and weaknesses are.

One of the best ways to understand your capabilities is by using the Science Careers Individual Development Plan skills assessment. It’s free, and all you need to do is register an account and take a few assessments.

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These assessments will help you determine if your career goals are realistic. You’ll come away with a better understanding of your unique talents and skill-sets. You may decide to change some of your career goals or alter your timeline based on what you learn.

40 Examples of Goals for Work & Career

All this talk of goal-setting and self-assessment may sound great in theory, but perhaps you need some inspiration to figure out what your goals should be.

For Changing a Job

  1. Attend more networking events and make new contacts.
  2. Achieve a promotion to __________ position.
  3. Get a raise.
  4. Plan and take a vacation this year.
  5. Agree to take on new responsibilities.
  6. Develop meaningful relationships with your coworkers and clients.
  7. Ask for feedback on a regular basis.
  8. Learn how to say, “No,” when you are asked to take on too much.
  9. Delegate tasks that you no longer need to be responsible for.
  10. Strive to be in a leadership role in __ number of years.

For Switching Career Path

  1. Pick up and learn a new skill.
  2. Find a mentor.
  3. Become a volunteer in the field that interests you.
  4. Commit to getting training or going back to school.
  5. Read the most recent books related to your field.
  6. Decide whether you are happy with your work-life balance and make changes if necessary. [3]
  7. Plan what steps you need to take to change careers.[4]
  8. Compile a list of people who could be character references or submit recommendations.
  9. Commit to making __ number of new contacts in the field this year.
  10. Create a financial plan.

For Getting a Promotion

  1. Reduce business expenses by a certain percentage.
  2. Stop micromanaging your team members.
  3. Become a mentor.
  4. Brainstorm ways that you could improve your productivity and efficiency at work
  5. Seek a new training opportunity to address a weakness.[5]
  6. Find a way to organize your work space.[6]
  7. Seek feedback from a boss or trusted coworker every week/ month/ quarter.
  8. Become a better communicator.
  9. Find new ways to be a team player.
  10. Learn how to reduce work hours without compromising productivity.

For Acing a Job Interview

  1. Identify personal boundaries at work and know what you should do to make your day more productive and manageable.
  2. Identify steps to create a professional image for yourself.
  3. Go after the career of your dreams to find work that does not feel like a job.
  4. Look for a place to pursue your interest and apply your knowledge and skills.
  5. Find a new way to collaborate with experts in your field.
  6. Identify opportunities to observe others working in the career you want.
  7. Become more creative and break out of your comfort zone.
  8. Ask to be trained more relevant skills for your work.
  9. Ask for opportunities to explore the field and widen your horizon
  10. Set your eye on a specific award at work and go for it.

Career Goal Setting FAQs

I’m sure you still have some questions about setting your own career goals, so here I’m listing out the most commonly asked questions about career goals.

1. What if I’m not sure what I want my career to be?

If you’re uncertain, be honest about it. Let the employer know as much as you know about what you want to do. Express your willingness to use your strengths to contribute to the company. When you take this approach, back up your claim with some examples.

If you’re not even sure where to begin with your career, check out this guide:

How to Find Your Ideal Career Path Without Wasting Time on Jobs Not Suitable for You

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2. Is it okay to lie about my career goals?

Lying to potential employers is bound to end in disaster. In the interview, a lie can make you look foolish because you won’t know how to answer follow up questions.

Even if you think your career goal may not precisely align with the employer’s expectations for a long-term hire, be open and honest. There’s probably more common ground than they realize, and it’s up to you to bridge any gaps in expectations.

Being honest and explaining these connections shows your employer that you’ve put a lot of thought into this application. You aren’t just telling them what they want to hear.

3. Is it better to have an ambitious goal, or should I play it safe?

You should have a goal that challenges you, but SMART goals are always reasonable. If you put forth a goal that is way beyond your capabilities, you will seem naive. Making your goals too easy shows a lack of motivation.

Employers want new hires who are able to self-reflect and are willing to take on challenges.

4. Can I have several career goals?

It’s best to have one clearly-defined career goal and stick with it. (Of course, you can still have goals in other areas of your life.) Having a single career goal shows that you’re capable of focusing, and it shows that you like to accomplish what you set out to do.

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On the other hand, you might have multiple related career goals. This could mean that you have short-term goals that dovetail into your ultimate long-term career goal. You might also have several smaller goals that feed into a single purpose.

For example, if you want to become a lawyer, you might become a paralegal and attend law school at the same time. If you want to be a school administrator, you might have initial goals of being a classroom teacher and studying education policy. In both cases, these temporary jobs and the extra education help you reach your ultimate goal.

Summary

You’ll have to devote some time to setting career goals, but you’ll be so much more successful with some direction. Remember to:

  • Set SMART goals. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, and Realistic with Timelines. When you set goals with these things in mind, you are likely to achieve the outcomes you want.
  • Have short-term and long-term goals. Short-term career goals can be completed in 1-3 years, while long-term goals will take 3-5 years to finish. Your short-term goals should set you up to accomplish your long-term goals.
  • Assess your capabilities by coming up with an Individual Development Plan. Knowing how to set goals won’t help you if you don’t know yourself. Understand what your strengths and weaknesses are by taking some self-assessments.
  • Choose goals that are appropriate to your ultimate aims. Your career goals should be relevant to one another. If they aren’t, then you may need to narrow your focus. Your goals should match the type of job that you want and the quality of life that you want to lead.
  • Be clear about your goals with potential employers. Always be honest with potential employers about what you want to do with your life. If your goals differ from the company’s objectives, find a way bridge the gap between what you want for yourself and what your employer expects.

By doing goal-setting work now, you’ll be able to make conscious choices on your career path. You can always adjust your plan if things change for you, but the key is to give yourself a road map for success.

More Tips About Setting Work Goals

Featured photo credit: Tyler Franta via unsplash.com

Reference

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