Whatever you do, DO NOT accept a job offer…

Whatever you do, DO NOT accept a job offer unless you’re certain it’s a job you really want. Once you’ve accepted the offer, remove your application from other searches.

As much as possible, try to get the hiring time frame from each organization to which you apply. That is, after you submit an application, ask when the organization expects to conduct interviews. After you interview, ask when they expect to make a decision. This way, you have a better sense of how much time you have to make a decision should an offer be made.

Let’s say you interview with Organization A, realize you really want the job, and are told they will have a decision in two weeks. Then you interview with Organization B, are reasonably interested, but would still prefer Organization A. Org. B offers you a position immediately. You know you won’t hear from Org. A for at least two weeks, so you can request that Org. B give you two weeks to give them a decision. Or, if two weeks is too long, you can let Org. A know that you are really interested in their position, but have another offer on the table so you wonder if they might be able to give you a decision any sooner than the original two weeks. Of course, each organization is free to say yes or no to your requests, but at least you’re equipped with tools that will help you, and the organizations to which you apply, make wise decisions.

Do not accept a job with the intent of sticking around for a month or two until some better offer comes around – in my humble opinion, that’s not only unprofessional, it’s downright selfish, not to mention potentially career-ending.

If you accept a position that’s not exactly related to your field or for which you are overqualified, look for ways to learn from the experience AND to give back to the organization. When appropriate, (and only after you’ve mastered the job for which you were hired), seek higher levels of responsibility within the organization.

Remember, your career aspirations are important, but your career is only as good as your integrity and your reputation.

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