Take the job that’s offered? Or pursue the job that fits?


The bills are piling up and you have an offer. It might be flawed, requiring that you compromise on salary, benefits or advancement. Or you  just have the nagging feeling that it isn’t right for you. But beggars can’t be choosy—right?

In the nine months between her job loss and landing at a Fortune 100 Corporation, Jennifer* turned down two job offers in the hopes of finding the ‘right fit.’

After her layoff, “I made a decision, and it wasn’t an easy decision, to take only the job that was right for me,” she said.

Staying true to that decision was tough, especially as her funds dried up. However, “I learned that I had the strength of mind—strength of character–to get through this,” she said.

Jennifer mentioned the job offers to subsequent interviewers. She believed her honesty demonstrated integrity.

Her interviewers must have agreed with her. She now has a significant role in a company that is growing despite the economic downturn.

I used to think that turning down a job offer was more ego than sense. After talking to Jennifer, I see that allowing a company to invest time and money in me until I find something better could also be a matter of ego.

Both parties benefit only if everyone agrees the arrangement is temporary. Perhaps that reasoning is contributing to the growing reliance on contractors.

Jennifer’s Tips:

  • Don’t limit yourself to what ‘networking’ means or what it should look like.
  • Networking is hard because there is no immediate gratification.
  • Getting the word out is essential. Don’t overlook your friends, or assume you know who they know. “I mentioned my job search to my girlfriend and she said, ‘Oh, I know someone in human resources at that company.’ I had no idea.”
  • Talk to everyone you meet. The woman at the dry cleaners isn’t in your industry, “But she handles the suits of executives and might have a useful contact,” she said.

*Some details have been omitted for privacy.

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