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Career Counselor
Four (Other) Things to Look For in Your First Job

November 2006 Deciding whether to accept a job offer requires a thorough evaluation of what a potential employer is proposing and imagining yourself in the position. First, you'll need to assess the basics: Are the salary and benefits competitive? Are bonuses offered?

But a job is about more than money. Sometimes its other attributes turn out to be even more important in the long run. Here are some key non-monetary considerations:

Opportunities for growth. What does the role look like from a professional growth standpoint? Knowing there's a ladder in front of you will keep you motivated and offer you the opportunity to reach your full potential. 

Company culture. Did you like the "feel" you got for the company during your interviews? It's important to determine whether you're comfortable with a company's culture – its business personality that's defined by the values and behaviors accepted at the firm. This is reflected in everything from the office dress code to how managers and their direct reports interact with one another. For further insight into what it would be like to work for a particular company, speak with current and former employees of the firm. 

Work/life balance. Survey after survey shows that today's workers desire flexibility. Does the potential employer offer alternate working arrangements, such as telecommuting, flexible scheduling, a compressed workweek or job sharing? If not and you feel strongly about this need, you may want to keep looking or serve as a temporary or contract employee to strike a more harmonious balance between your personal and professional life. 

Continuing education. Staying up to date with developments in your field is becoming more and more important. Does this company offer its employees adequate training as well as reimbursement for pertinent courses you may elect to take? If in doubt, ask. Inquiring about continuing education also demonstrates your interest and dedication to the position and your career.

Every job seeker should have a clear idea about what the "deal breakers" are in a potential job. Knowing what to look for will help you make a better decision, improve your chances of satisfaction and, ultimately, meet your full potential.

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ACCOUNTEMPS is a specialized temporary staffing service for accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals. Accountemps provides support throughout an accounting department. Headquartered in Menlo Park, Calif., Accountemps and has more than 270 offices in North America, Europe and Australia. Accountemps' Career Counselor column, a SmartPros staple for over four years, is refreshed twice a month.

2006 SmartPros Ltd. All rights reserved.

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