We’re beginning to talk with excited clients who have actually been offered jobs. For you, that magic moment may be just around the corner. Will you be ready to make an informed job choice?
While it might be tempting to immediately accept the first offer that comes along, careful consideration of each offer produces better results.
Our office presents a workshop to prepare candidates to evaluate job offers, consider benefits, and make wise job choices. Here are some topics we cover:
• How to Respond Initially
Thank the employer for the offer. Ask for time to consideration. This demonstrates that you are taking the offer seriously, and that you want to make sure that you are making the best decision possible – for both you and the school. Be clear on when the employer expects a response.
If you have had more than one interview (or if you have interviews scheduled in the near future), you may, out of fairness to all employers, need to ask for a reasonable extension.
• What to Think About in Making a Decision
Be sure you know what you want in a job. What are your non-negotiables – job factors that are so important that you cannot compromise on them? They could include the district’s reputation, the school’s location, curriculum offerings, rapport with staff members, salary level and benefits, or anything else that is essential to you in a position. We publish an Education Employment Guide that includes a salary/benefits worksheet and a checklist for considerations in accepting a teaching position. If you’d find this information useful, you can view it by going to http://www.niu.edu/CareerServices/educator/k12.html, then clicking on Education Employment Guide. The documents are on pages 31 and 32.
• How to Make the Final Decision
A tried-and-true way to make a job decision is the balance sheet. A balance sheet is simply a listing of the job’s positives and negatives. Make a list of everything that you like about the job, and make another list of the drawbacks – your hesitations. Compare the lists. Are the advantages enough to warrant acceptance? Are the drawbacks minor enough that you will be able to adjust to them?
Talk with people who are important to you. Those in your “trusted group” may come up with questions or issues that you hadn’t considered.
Sleep on your decision! Your unconscious mind will work through intricacies as you sleep. You might be amazed at the thoughts that come to you when you awaken.
As always, if you need another opinion, consult with a counselor in your Career Services Office.
• Rejecting a Job Offer
You may decide that this is not the right position for you. If you do reject the offer, however, be sure to do so with diplomacy, grace, and kindness. Administrators talk with each other, and they share their impressions of candidates. You’ll want the impression that you leave to be positive. Somewhere down the line, you may end up wanting to work for the very district that you rejected this time.
Remember that a contract is a legal, binding document. NEVER continue to look for positions after you have signed a contract.
• Accepting an Offer
Ask for a written copy of the job offer so that you can be sure of the exact terms. Write an acceptance letter, expressing your excitement at joining the staff and stating your understanding of the terms of the offer.
Notify districts where you have interviewed (or will be interviewing) that you have accepted a position. Be sure, once again, to employ your best diplomacy.
Inform your Career Services Office that you have accepted employment so that your name is removed from referral lists.
Celebrate – enjoy the rest of your summer!
--Dr. Dawn Jones,
Online Education & Health Advisor,
Northern Illinois University, on behalf of AAEE
The opinions expressed in Career Corner are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.