Before we really get into discussing how to weigh two job offers, I feel I need to congratulate those who have successfully landed two job offers within a manageable time frame! That in itself can be a part time job and a big accomplishment. When I asked several people how they would go about weighing two job offers, the first consideration explored was typically “Which pays more?” It seems simple, but I want to caution not doing your homework before answering. There are several layers to understanding which position pays more, and if you do your analysis right, you’ll probably feel like you are creating a budget from scratch (I know, not too many people get excited about that). Let’s think through some dos and a few don’t’s of how to weigh two job offers:
It’s your one chance to make a great first impression on a potential employer, so interview prep is crucial. Being prepared will help you feel more confident during the interview. Follow these five steps to put your best foot forward in an interview:
1. Research the organization: Find out all you can about the company and the people that will be interviewing you. Visit the company’s website and social media pages; check out the interviewers’ LinkedIn profiles. Consider following the company on Twitter or ‘liking’ them on Facebook to stay up-to-date on news. Do you know anyone that works for or has interned at the company? Talk to them about the culture.
2. Know your answers: Many companies still use the same basic questions, such as “Tell me about yourself,” or “Where do you see yourself in five years?” Talk through your answers to these questions, but make sure your responses do not sound like a canned one you’ve read online. Thoroughly read the description or job posting for which you are interviewing. What are the job requirements and how can you demonstrate you will meet these requirements? Be prepared to share specific examples that address requirements and qualifications that are needed for the job. Be ready to discuss how you contributed and the outcomes.
I wish there had been an article like the one I’m about to write three years ago as I sat at my desk my first week at my summer internship with my state’s state fair. I was holding back tears, nervously clicking away at the leftover scraps of internship postings in the area while my fellow interns sat nearby working, as I should have been. But I just couldn’t focus. It was only my first week, and I felt like I’d made a terrible mistake.
I’m sure my experience isn’t extremely uncommon, but it’s just something you don’t hear about. Quitting your internship is just something you don’t do. And spoiler alert: I stuck my internship out. Not only because I had signed an apartment lease for the summer in my capitol city. Not only because I had called my parents crying and was told repeatedly that I couldn’t come home. But because if I quit my internship, I knew the consequences were far greater than any anguish I would endure in the next three months.
“Soft Skills!” This is a phrase that I have heard many times in recent years. It often comes up in meetings where employers are discussing skills needed in their employees; those skills beyond the technical aspects of the job. Better descriptive phrases might include: “communication skills, “people skills”, or “life skills.” Wikipedia describes soft skills as: “term often associated with a person’s “EQ” (Emotional Intelligence Quotient), which is the cluster of personality traits that characterize one’s relationships with other people. These skills can include social graces, communication abilities, language skills, personal habits, cognitive or emotional empathy, and leadership traits. Soft skills contrast with hard skills, which are generally easily quantifiable and measurable (such as software knowledge or basic plumbing skills).”
During some recent meetings I attended in Washington, DC “soft skills” was the main topic. The growing concern by employers that high school and college graduates are lacking some “soft skills” is resulting some organized effort to address this issue (for more information regarding these efforts, check out this document). Some obstacles that have been mentioned as eroding the “soft skills” in young adults today include: smart phone use (texting as opposed to talking), crowded high school schedules (allowing little to no time for a PT job), and too much time on Internet or gaming. Without belaboring why “soft skills” are lacking, let’s shift focus to how young adults can differentiate themselves relative to their peers. Below are 3 ways develop soft skills during their high school and college years:
by Jennifer Elliott, recent Iowa State University graduate and Smithfield Sales & Business Trainee
The journey to my ideal career seemed intimidating at first, but with a little planning and personality, I managed to find the perfect fit for me. My name is Jennifer Elliott, and I am a recent Iowa State University graduate with a degree in Agricultural Communications and a full-time position with Smithfield as a Sales and Business Trainee.
Although I look forward to the adventure that lies ahead in my new position, it’s the journey to my destination that truly amazes me. As the title hints, I found my position, but honestly, I found my passion for Smithfield after my experience with their hog production division this past summer. But the story didn’t start there.
When I was a freshman at Iowa State, it was highly encouraged to attend the fall career fair. As I walked my first lap at the fair, I noticed the Smithfield booth. As my small hometown in Illinois is home to one of their many packing plants, I thought there would be no better way to break my jitters than talking with one of their representatives. I thoroughly enjoyed my conversation with the Smithfield associate, discussing the company’s purpose, structure and even how they directly impacted my community. As they weren’t looking for freshmen interns, we parted ways, but promising to keep in touch and say hello when they were visiting campus.
Krystal Tyndall has been with AgCareers.com since mid-2013 and serves as the company’s HR Services Associate. Krystal works closely with Mary Barefoot, Director of HR Services, in the Clinton, North Carolina office.
What do you do on a day-to-day basis in your role with AgCareers.com?
Day to day I interact with other HR professionals seeking compensation, payroll, and human resource-related data for their company. Being part of the HR Services Team for AgCareers.com keeps me up to date with trends in the industry. We conduct market research and feedback-detailed reports to other ag industry businesses.
What do you enjoy about working with AgCareers.com?
AgCareers.com is a niche job board, and working here has allowed me to continue to serve the ag community and work closely with HR professionals in all types of industries. It never is the same, repetitive work. My job keeps me on my toes and forward thinking. I have an agricultural background and enjoy learning more each day about the industry that is continually growing in the number of career opportunities available.
What advice would you give to job seekers using AgCareers.com for the first time?
Take your time in searching for jobs and reading the descriptions. You need to tailor your resume to fit the job you apply for. Let your education, experience, and prior work speak for your objective as a job seeker. The jobs are updated continuously; keep your eyes out daily for new jobs.
It’s a hot topic. News outlets write about it, financial experts blog about it, parents lose sleep over it and presidential candidates use their campaign speeches to tout their plans to change it. I’m talking about the cost of higher education. According to The College Board, the average projected increase for the next fifteen years is 5% annually. That could result in a near $40,000 increase in the cost of a four-year degree between now and the year 2035. Did you recently have a baby? If so might want to let that sink in.
While I am not a presidential candidate, sorry this isn’t my stump speech for reducing the cost of education, I do have a suggestion for best utilizing those dollars that I wish more college students would take advantage of. Over the past eleven years, AgCareers.com has offered a survey for our clients to help them collect feedback from their interns and benchmark their internship program success and shortcomings against others in the industry. In that time frame, we’ve collected responses from nearly 5,600 students. The insight into the mind of young interns is both eye-opening, humorous and scary and provides some interesting awareness into the minds of our future co-workers. There is a question in this survey that I’m always eager to analyze. Did you receive class credit for completing this internship? The chart below shows the responses to that question over the history of the survey.