Should I Accept a Job Offer or Wait for What I Really Want?

by Christian Fisher

Even though the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 20.5 million jobs will be created in the United States between 2010 and 2020, employers are becoming increasingly selective of new hires. The state of your finances, skills and potential opportunities should help you when deciding to accept a job offer right now. The state of your industry and demand for your skills are additional factors to weigh when choosing to wait for a better offer later on.

Feeding the Wolves

The faster you get back into the workforce, the more employable you become. If you’ve been unemployed for more than six months, job offers can become extremely scarce as employers shy away from even looking at resumes that come from the long-time unemployed, according to Brad Plumer of "The Washington Post." Taking a job offer in front of you right now can be sensible if it relieves the pressure built by unpaid bills and piling debts, brings a sense of stability or harmony back to the household, or eases overall stress about the future. It can be even better if you can see how the job that you accept today can eventually lead to a position more aligned with what you really want.

The Waiting Risk

Accepting a job offer in front of you today can get you out of the waiting game you might face from other employers you apply to. Organizations that fear a downturn in the economy can extend the interview process out for weeks by calling candidates in for interview after interview before ultimately making a decision, which isn’t always yes, according to a March 2013 article in "The New York Times." Employers reason that the extended interview process gives them more time to measure you against other, perhaps better, job candidates.

When Patience Is a Privilege

One reason to wait for a better job offer is because you can. For example, if you have enough savings and are making a planned career change or you’re a retiree who doesn’t need the money and is now looking for a different challenge, you’re in a better position to pass on a current job offer with hopes that an ideal one is coming later. You might also be in a position where your specialized skills and experience are in high demand, in which case jumping at the first job offer could shortchange you if a competing employer wants to offer you something more.

Having It Your Way

Asking yourself and your potential employer the right questions will help you choose the job that’s right for you. Understand your duties, work hours, salary, benefits and how you’ll be evaluated on the job. Ask the hiring manager about your immediate supervisor, co-workers and the type of culture you’d be entering. Additionally, evaluating a job offer based on your long-term career goals can help you decide. For example, you might want the job that will let you develop your creative talents, be a stepping-stone professionally, or that provides a work environment you know you can enjoy for years to come.

About the Author

A writer since 1995, Christian Fisher is an author specializing in personal empowerment and professional success. From 2000 to 2005, he wrote true stories of human triumph for "Woman's World" magazine. Since 2004, he has also helped launch businesses including a music licensing company and a music school.

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