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As the economy recovers, job search candidates are finding that they have a new and exciting challenge on their personal horizon: a job offer that requires their evaluation, and an answer for the potential new employer.

Evaluating a job offer and evaluating your potential new employer may cover many areas. For example, how well does the position fit with your career goals? Does this position utilize your abilities, skills, strengths, aptitude, and meet with your interests?

Employers often want someone with industry experience. Therefore, you may find that you are on a career path doing a certain type of work within one industry. In a way, you become “slotted” for the type of work you have been doing, and in the industry in which you have experience. This can be a good thing as the more industry experience you have the more valuable you are, and the more you should be able to charge for your services.

Do you realize that the average length of time on a job is less than two years? To jump from one job to another is not a good idea. Those that tend to be successful find a career path and industry path, and then stay within that career and industry path and continue to add to their value in the job market. If your background shows that you move from one job to the next with no planning, no career path, no level of expanding your skills and abilities, how valuable are you?

Alternately, when you consistently become more proficient in the type of work that you do in your industry, aren’t you then more valuable to your employer? Wouldn’t your high level of competence be an asset to a company? For example, if you are promoted, and if you were to hire someone to replace yourself, wouldn’t you want to hire someone who is skilled and has industry experience?

Look at your new company and job offer. Do you respect the company’s character, and were you impressed with the competence of the company’s management? A company that is well managed is much more likely to be around for many years, rather than “here today and gone tomorrow.” The longer you work for a well managed company, the more your value, and the probability of enhancing your paycheck, increases. You are worth more because you are more highly skilled and have extensive industry experience.

Further, you may wish to evaluate what your future would be for this new position: Can you visualize yourself with this company in three to five years? Will this new position stretch you and make you grow in your skills and abilities, and thus make you more valuable in the job market?

And since it’s important to constantly keep your résumé updated, another good question to ask yourself is “How will this new position add to my résumé?” Is it obvious to someone reading your résumé that your new job offer is actually a step up and a step forward in your career?

How does this company rank in its industry category? It is an industry leader? Are its products and services on the cutting edge? Is the industry growing? Is this company growing at the same rate as the industry, or preferably, even faster.

And as this company grows does it promote from within? Can you grow within the company in the area of responsibilities and duties? As you are promoted within the company, will your expanded experience add to the breadth and depth of your skill set, and will it add to your value in the job market?

If the rate of industry growth is averaging 3% per year, and your potential new employer is growing at the rate of 5%-plus each and every year, it would sound like a step in the right direction for you. On the other hand, if the industry growth is 3%, but the company growth is considerably less than that, would it be wise for you to move into that company?

And because your potential new employer is on a growth path with cutting edge products and services, your perceived value is obviously enhanced.

The economy has been slow the past several years, so it would be wise to inquire how the company is doing financially. The probability of the company being around in 5 to 10 years is greater if the company is making money, is profitable, as opposed to losing money. Profit is important. Profitable companies stay in business; unprofitable companies do not.

Among the most important criteria for a new job is a clear job description. Does everyone agree, especially decision makers at high levels, on why you were hired? Is it clear? Is it concise? Is it what was discussed in the job interview process?

Finally, is the salary and benefit package desirable? Often the company has a standard benefit package that is reviewed with you by the human resources department. And it never hurts to ask, “How negotiable is the salary?”

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