Job Offer: There are few sweeter words than, “We’d love to bring you onboard.” Even if you haven’t been actively looking for a new gig, knowing another company wants you is a huge ego boost. Plus, even if you don’t plan to accept the job, a new offer can serve as a valuable tool to leverage a raise or promotion at your current job. But in order to maximize the opportunity, you’ve got to be just as strategic as you were while acing your interview.

Step one, says career coach Heather Monahan, is to get the offer in writing so you know exactly what you’ve got. Second, know that this is just the beginning of a series of conversations with the potential new job, your old boss, and yourself.
job offer
Terrified? You shouldn’t be. You’re in the best possible place. You have a company that wants to hire you and one that would love to keep you. So take your time. Remember: You have the written job offer, and they won’t take that away just because you need a few days to think it through. And if you’re not sure it’s the right move, know that you can absolutely tell your boss you got a new job offer without offering your resignation. Consider this: Companies spend an average of $1,000 and 30 hours to train someone in a job. If you’re a good worker, your current boss would love to keep you on board. You have the upper hand. So use it for getting what you want and what you need.

Ahead, we went to the career experts for the questions you have to ask yourself before you accept an job offer.

The Job Offer Mistake EVERYONE Makes

Why I do want to leave?

When you’re stuck at a job you don’t love, the urge to get out can be so strong, you may overlook that you might be landing in pretty much an identical situation, warns Catherine Fisher, a career expert for LinkedIn. First, make a list of the things you hate about your current job. Bogged down by admin tasks? Feel like you’re on call 24/7? Feel eh about the values and ethics of the corporation? The more specific you are about what you hate, the more you’ll get a sense of how great the new offer really is.

For example, if you realize the reason you can’t stand your job is the fact that you feel invisible, then maybe the gig at the huge corporation where the interviewer tells you you’ll be on a team of 20 may not be the right fit. After all, sometimes, the devil you do know (your boss who has a penchant for texting you on weekends) is better than the devil you don’t (the new boss who will potentially ask you to come into the office on weekends).

What impact will this have on my life?

New research from job search site Sokanu found that six-figure careers may not be the ones that offer workers the most satisfaction. That said, an eyebrow-raising offer can be tempting…but think about what the company is asking for, in exchange for that high paycheck. You’ll likely have an initial sense of how the office functions from your interview, but ask your would-be boss if she can put you in touch with a few people who currently work in the office, or track down a few former employees via LinkedIn. A few candid conversations can help fill in the blanks on any questions of work-life balance. (We recommend you have these conversations over the phone, so there’s no paper trail that might be misinterpreted.)

Does my current maneger know my career goals?

The more your boss knows, the better it is for you when weighing a new offer, says Monahan. This is especially true if you like the industry and like the company you’re with, but want a salary bump or title change. It’s smart to always make it a habit to touch base with your manager beyond your annual review to talk wins, long-term projects, and the future even if you’re not actively looking for a new gig. The more she knows before you get an offer, the more she can help you tweak your current job description (and hopefully pay grade) to more closely align with what you really want. If your current manager doesn’t seem to care? Then it’s even more important to get a read on how a new potential boss will invest in you.

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