“chance favors the prepared mind” – Louis Pasteur
The top 4 career mistakes many make are:
1) Stagnating in the same job without acquiring the much needed technical & soft skills. False sense of job security that the employer will look after me and staying too long in the comfort zone without expanding on the stack of technologies will come back and bite you. Finding a new job in a difficult market is all about supply & demand. There are thousands of Java developers out there. You need to have additional sought-after Tech (E.g. Low latency apps, Full stack development, Big Data Engineering, System Integration, etc) & Non Tech (E.g. communication, leadership, job hunting, resume writing skills, Right Attitude, etc) to standout from your competition.
“Love your job but don’t love your company, because you may not know when your company stops loving you.” – Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam.
2) Not empowering to choose from multiple job offers with the right skills & know-hows. No 2 jobs are created and pay the same. Some jobs are more mission critical & add much better business value than the others. This will often be reflected in the budget allocated & the preparedness to pay above market rates for the right candidate.
Don’t let others choose what is best for you. It pays to be in an enviable position of getting multiple job offers. This will empower you to negotiate better rates & also to choose the best offer based on your career aspirations & goals. This will also create the dilemma of “how to go about choosing from multiple offers”?
3) When changing jobs, considering only the salary/hourly rates and not asking more questions about the business opportunity or problem, role, technology stacks, infrastructure, team structure & development methodology, etc to make a more informed choice.
4) Jumping around too often due to one or more of the following reasons – lack of “soft skills & right attitude” to work in a team environment, lack of a well defined career road-map and unfortunate personal issues.
Choosing from multiple job offers
Here is an analytical approach to choose from multiple job offers:
- Firstly, and most importantly the offer on the table in terms of salary, hourly rates and other benefits. This is an important criteria, but being short sighted may hinder longer term progress. [E.g. Let’s give this a weight = 30%]
I generally give more weight to this than the salary as I enjoy learning new things. This will also give me the much needed job security as a freelancer/contractor in a 1) very competitive market place 2) IT salaries are under threat from low cost workforce and 3) age based discrimination when supply outstrips demand.
- Type of project (new project, enhancement to existing project, supporting an existing project, is it a run of the mill project or a game changer for the organization, is it a well funded big splash project? etc): You tend to learn more on new projects by taking them through the full SDLC. [E.g. weight = 15%]
- Brand name (e.g Big bank), company culture (e.g. reputed software house where developers are highly valued), business acumen (e.g. fortune 100 company), etc. Brand & reputation do matter as they help you get more interview calls next time you start hunting for a job, but again what skills & experience you will be acquiring matters more. You may get more interview calls, but may find it difficult to get through your interview stages if your skills are not enhanced through good hands-on experience. [E.g. weight = 10%]
- Type of role and opportunities to grow as a mentor, leader, architect, fascilitator, change agent, etc. Would this role have active involvement with the business users and leaders? [E.g. weight = 5%]
- Type of organization (Insurance, Finance, Software house, retail, government, multi-national, non-profit, etc). In some types of organizations like finance, insurance, etc you tend get better remuneration. In some software houses and consultancy roles you tend to acquire wider range of skills. Government jobs may offer better job security & work life balance. [E.g. weight = 5%]
- How comprehensive the interview was?. The more comprehensive the interview the better chance of working with the high calibre staff. [E.g. weight = 5%].
- Location and lifestyle choices. [E.g. weight = 5%] .
Total weight should be 100%.
Note: Weights shown above are for illustration purpose only and may vary from individual to individual.
You can analytically work it out as follows
You can give some weight to each of the criteria as shown above. The weight needs to add up to 100%. Now say you have offers from company A, B and C. You give some points out of say 10 to each of the above criteria and then multiply each point by the weight (i.e. importance to you) and then add them all up. If the difference is negligible or not conclusive enough then go with your heart. Otherwise you know which one(s) to choose or pursue with the salary negotiations.
An interview is a 2 way street
In career forums, interview candidates often ask how to choose from multiple job offers? This is not an easy decision to make and often this dilemma is made worse due to not asking the right questions about the position or role at the interview. Interviews are two way process where the interviewer(s) assess the suitability of the candidate to the position or role while the candidate assesses the suitability of the position or role to their interests and career aspirations. Asking the right questions can not only help you make an informed decision to choose the job of your dreams, but also can help you negotiate your remuneration and market your skills & strengths more effectively based on the answers. Some of the questions you can ask are:
- If I am successful, what type of projects will I be involved in and what type of technologies/frameworks will I be exposed to? Will this role involve liaising with the business users and/or mentoring opportunities?
- What types of candidates succeed in your organization?
- Is this a mission critical project? How big is the team? What is the budget for this project?
- What are the key tasks and responsibilities involved with my role? Does this involve new development, enhancement or support work?
Research the company prior to job interviews. Prepare how you would add value to the company. For example, domain knowledge, soft skills, good handle on the 16 technical key areas, especially performance tuning, security, transaction management, and design skills.
If a company is making you a job offer, it is convinced that you have what it takes to get the job done by fitting in with its team culture. The company making an offer will NOT take into consideration your interests & career aspirations. That is your responsibility.
In order to love your job empower yourself to choose from multiple job offers, and short-list the offers that are inline with your career road-map to get into salary negotiations.
Mechanical Engineer to self-taught Java freelancer within 3 years. Freelancing since 2003. Preparation empowered me to attend 190+ job interviews & choose from 150+ job offers with sought-after contract rates. Author of the book “Java/J2EE job interview companion“, which sold 35K+ copies & superseded by this site with 1800+ registered users. Amazon.com profile | Amazon.com reviews | Good reads reviews | LinkedIn | LinkedIn Group | YouTube