Skip to Main Content
March 31, 2009


Just as corporations treat bright young prospects like college-bound athletes, job seekers should treat prospective employers like schools. After all, who and what you have access to will basically determine the growth of your career. Too many people are blinded by the bait these corporations dispense. They'll coddle you and take you out; they'll pay your broker's fee, and send movers to pack your things. They'll offer you huge bonuses, and stock options to beat the band. Sometimes the prestige of the name, combined with the compelling lure of an exploding offer makes one forget that the once the wooing is over and bonus is spent, the reality of the job kicks in. These companies are willing to butter you up because they want you to devote your lives to them. When you evaluate the relative attractiveness of a job, there are certain long-term issues to consider before selling oneself to the highest bidder.

For today's creme de la creme, what a company can hand out is becoming less important than where a career there can take them. People want to know that they will have the opportunity to learn a lot, and that they can move up the ladder quickly. They look for companies where higher-ups are likely to serve as mentors.

Also for many, the freedom to tailor their job descriptions is more important than the freedom to leave at 5:30. These candidates often ask to visit the company in order to spend a day with prospective team members, and meet the executives. It used to be that an employee's first few months in a new position served as a test period (most companies retain the right to release employees with no explanation at any time in the first three months). Nowadays however, plum employees have flipped the script - many view that introductory period as an opportunity to feel out their new employers, and some people are so confident in their marketability that they will only commit to specific (though generally long-term) assignments.

Industry observers say we may be nearing the close of the country's third-longest period of economic expansion - so it's probably about time for America's most marketable (that's you!) to sew up the sweet deals while the labor market remains strong.


Filed Under: Job Search