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How to Tell if a Job Offer Is Right for You

You've been on the job market for a few days (or weeks, or months), and just last week you were invited to an interview that seemed to go well. Now you've received an offer and it's time to make a decision. Should you say yes and make a formal commitment? Or should you continue to search for something better?

If you're so excited about the position that you can hardly sleep, and you can't wait to walk in the front door on your first day, then the answer is obvious. But if you're taking this position because you aren't sure you have any other options, stop and reconsider. You always have options. You are the author of your own life, and taking a calculated risk might be a smarter move than accepting a bleak compromise just so you can pay your bills. Here are a few questions to ask before you sign on the line.

1. Are you under pressure?

Long-term unemployment can be draining, not to mention damaging to your finances. But the phrase "long term" applies only after about six months on the job market. Anything shorter still falls within a realistic job-search timeframe. If you've been out of work for three weeks, this may feel like an eternity. But it isn't.

You'll have to factor in the state of your personal finances, but don't make a foolish career mistake because you feel as though the walls are closing in around you. It's perfectly reasonable for experienced adults to switch jobs several times, and a brief gap between one job and the next is something most employers accept and even expect.

2. Will you be able to manage the commute?

Studies show that two factors, above all others, hold a powerful influence over an employee's happiness or misery within a given job. The first involves his or her relationship with the boss (but you don't yet know how this relationship will play out). The second involves the commute. If you'll be commuting for more than an hour in each direction, think before you say yes.

3. Did you catch any red flags during your interview?

If you faced a smart interviewer, then these red flags were not hidden or subtle. In fact, your interviewer may have directly asked you a question like this: "In this job, you'll be asked to travel at least 60 percent of the time. Will this be okay?" Or: "In this position, you'll need to wear multiple hats. Sometimes you'll stand at the front desk, other times you may be asked to load trucks or shovel the snow off the walk. Can you do this?" Take these warnings and honest disclosures seriously.

4. Is the job relevant to your long-term career goals?

Say yes if this job will provide exposures, experiences, or personal contacts that can advance your career. If you'll be picking up valuable skill sets that can help you get wherever you'd like to be in five years, that's good news. But think twice if this job is just a placeholder and a way to pay the bills.

Place Your Trust in a Strong Resume

If this job isn't the right one for you, say no and don't look back. Hit the road and keep searching for something that's better suited to your skills, your personality, and your long-term plans. With a great resume and a strong, effective cover letter in hand, you'll find the right position soon enough. Be patient, be determined, and visit MyPerfectResume for the formatting tools and job-search guidance that can take you all the way to your destination.

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