8 Things to Consider When Looking for a New Job

IMAGE CREDIT: ISTOCK

When deciding on whether a new job is right for you, it’s important to look past the paycheck. While salary is important, it doesn’t always spell happiness. Here are eight things to consider while weighing the pros and cons of that new position.

1. BENEFITS

Remember that your base salary is just one part of your compensation package. Insurance, retirement contribution and matching, paid time off, equity, bonuses, and more should all be considered—and negotiated—before signing on the dotted line. It’s important to also ask your potential employer about perks the company offers: Are there wellness plans (including discounts on things like gym memberships), pre-tax travel options, or reimbursement for relocation costs at your disposal?

2. HOURS

Not every office job is a 9 to 5. Before committing to a job change, reach an understanding with your potential employer of expectations for regular working hours. Beyond whether your start time is 9:00 or 10:00 a.m., try to get an idea of how much after-hours work is considered normal.  And when considering a job with different hours from what you’re used to (such as a weekend schedule, evening hours, or an early-morning shift) make a list of how this change will impact your life—maybe you’re not as much of a morning person as you thought.

3. OFFICE CULTURE

Getting a handle on your new position’s hours can also be your window into one of the most elusive decision-making factors: the company’s office culture. Are the employees at your new job happy? Do they enjoy working for the company—and with one another—and do they feel like their work is valued? While something intangible like “office culture” and “vibe” can be tricky to figure out prior to your start date, the answers to questions about flexible hours, team-building events, and regular reviews (opportunities to give as well as receive feedback) can be a valuable litmus test.

4. THE TEAM

Nothing affects office culture more than your co-workers, which is why it’s a good idea to meet as many as you can during the interview process. While the hiring manager can speak to the team’s talent and dedication, your peers—if it’s possible to talk to them—can shed light on group dynamics and management as well as share their own reasons for choosing the company. Consider all interactions, including email responses (are they timely and courteous?), when determining whether these are people you’d like to work with.

It’s also important to take a look at personnel higher up the ladder. Do some research to learn a bit about the people who will be your managers.  Do you see mentorship potential in any of them? Do they have a track record of supporting more junior talent? And look outside the immediate hierarchy—if there were to be a management shakeup, would you be happy with new leadership?

5. PASSION

One good indicator of your future team’s happiness is how passionate they are about the work they’re doing. Having a unified vision and values can buoy the office atmosphere. Ask yourself if the company’s mission excites you the same way it (hopefully) does your potential co-workers—this can be a good indicator of whether the job will be a good fit.

6. GROWTH OPPORTUNITIES

During the interview process, be sure to ask about advancement opportunities within the company. Doing so will not only help paint a better picture for you of what a future with that employer may look like, but shows the hiring manager that you are looking to invest your time and talents in the company long-term. It’s also worth perusing the social media pages of employees at your potential organization; look for things such as how long they stay in the same position

And while the traditional growth trajectory includes promotions to more senior roles within your department, it’s also smart to ask about horizontal opportunities. As your skills and interests evolve, you may find you want to pursue a lateral move to a different area within the company.

7. EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES

The bottom line is, you want to work for an organization that supports and encourages your growth—and sometimes, in order to grow, you will require additional education. Ask about whether the company provides stipends for continuing ed courses or professional degrees—and also whether employees are encouraged to take advantage of these resources.

8. COMPANY HISTORY AND STABILITY

It can’t be stressed enough that you need to do a bit of research on your potential employer before making anything official. Do they have a track record of layoffs and cutbacks? Are they making headlines for the right reasons (such as reaching new audience milestones or expanding the business) or ones that raise red flags (legal issues, financial troubles)? While joining a startup can be exciting, it’s also a huge risk—be realistic about whether it’s a good time for you to take one.

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The Best and Worst Fonts to Use on Your Résumé

Using Times New Roman is the typeface equivalent of wearing sweatpants to an interview
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A résumé, that piece of paper designed to reflect your best self, is one of the places where people still tend to use typeface to express themselves. It does not always go well, according to people who spend a lot of time looking at fonts. Bloomberg asked three typography wonks which typefaces make a curriculum vitae look classiest, which should never, ever be seen by an employer, and whether emojis are fair game.

We went digging for a complete set of professionally fly fonts and returned with just one consensus winner: Helvetica.

“Helvetica is so no-fuss, it doesn’t really lean in one direction or another. It feels  professional, lighthearted, honest,” says Brian Hoff, creative director of Brian Hoff Design. “Helvetica is safe. Maybe that’s why it’s more business-y.”

There are other options that, like Helvetica, are sans-serif, meaning their letters do not have the tiny “feet” that adorn the “T” in Times New Roman, for example. Do not choose a cheap imitator, the experts counsel. “If it’s me, [I’m using] Helvetica. Helvetica is beautiful,” says Matt Luckhurst, the creative director at Collins, a brand consultancy, in San Francisco. “There is only one Helvetica.”

Unless you’re applying for a design job, human resource professionals probably wouldn’t notice a knockoff font. But you would be on the wrong side of good taste. Could you live with that?

Say you’re a high roller and want to actually purchase a font. Go with Proxima Nova, which Hoff calls a “cousin to Helvetica” with less of an edge.

“It has a softer feel. Helvetica can be more stiff, and  Proxima Nova feels a little rounder,” Hoff says. Proxima Nova is apparently a hit among suits. “I never met a client that didn’t like that typeface,” he says. That kind of popularity does not come cheap: Just one style of the font costs $29.99 at myfonts.com, and the entire 144-member family costs $734.

If you are very experienced, use Garamond to get your long rap sheet to fit into a single page. “Garamond is legible and easy for the eye to follow,” says Luckhurst.  “Garamond has all these quirks in it, so what that does is allow the eye to see where it should go.”

 

There’s some controversy over the classic Times New Roman. “I don’t have any problem with Times New Roman,” says Martina Flor, a letterer and designer in Berlin, Germany. She acknowledges that it has the reputation of being staid, but says the font is not to blame. “It has been a system font for a long time. It’s been used and misused a lot.”

Using old faithful might send the wrong sign to your future boss, though. “It’s telegraphing that you didn’t put any thought into the typeface that you selected,” says Hoff. “It’s like putting on sweatpants.”

If you want something intentionally upscale, try Didot. “It’s very tall, it’s a little fancy, [and] it’s a little feminine,” says Luckhurst. It’s a good option for a fashion job, but not much else, he adds. “It’s like wearing the black dress to the ball. Do you wear a tuxedo to your job interview?”

It may go without saying, but do not use the flowery Zapfino type on anything you will show an employer. “It’s just really swoosh-y. If it’s your wedding invite and that typeface is for you, go for it,” says Luckhurst.

Do not even use anything that looks like Zapfino, says Flor. “All the fonts belonging to this family of connected scripts wouldn’t be right for your résumé,” she says. They are hard to read, she says, and not designed to express anything longer than a headline.

“You don’t have a typewriter, so don’t try to pretend that you have a typewriter,” Luckhurst says. “You have been using a computer to do a handwritten thing. You haven’t used a computer properly, and you haven’t handwritten properly.” Damn. Don’t use Courier, I guess.

We probably do not even need to discuss this, but you should never use Comic Sans unless you are designing the investment issue of a national business magazine. Do not even look at Comic Sans. It should not be on your résumé “unless you are applying to clown college,” says Hoff. “There are other whimsical fonts out there that you can buy that would give a similar impression and feel, but not necessarily be a Comic Sans.” Hoff is being gentle, but take it from me: Don’t look for a Comic Sans-like font. Just let it go.

Should you put emoji in your résumé? Prayer hands, a cat with hearts for eyes, followed by a dress shirt with a gold tie? “I think it’s a great idea. Put a lot of emojis on the bottom. Some chicken wings. They will love it,” says Luckhurst. “Maybe an emoji is your logo. Maybe you just really key in on the 100 logo, that’s your thing, you put it everywhere.”

Maybe.

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