10 Most Important Things You Should Look for in a Job

If you're trying to find the best job, consider more than just the starting pay.
Updated Feb. 8, 2023
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Accepting a new job offer is a major commitment. But before you say “yes,” make sure the position aligns with your career goals and personal lifestyle. That means you need to look beyond the starting paycheck.

Yes, a good-paying job can boost your bank account. But some lucrative positions come with low job satisfaction and other drawbacks.

So, before you accept a job offer, make sure your new employer is offering a role that comes with the following perks.

You feel appreciated

JacobLund/Adobe happy employees in office doing high five

When you work hard all day, you want to know your efforts are appreciated. Feeling appreciated means management doesn’t take advantage of you.

Taking pride in your work is important, and that's difficult to do when your superiors don’t appreciate your contribution. 

Finding a job where management appreciates you will result in better job satisfaction. You'll also be less likely to feel that working 40 hours a week is a burden.

You love the work

Vasyl/Adobe young people discussing business at office while using laptop on table

Everyone knows that working in a job you love is a huge plus. Performing tasks you enjoy and receiving a paycheck for it is an ideal situation.

Of course, you probably won’t love every aspect of the job. But if you genuinely enjoy the work overall, you’ll find it less difficult to drag yourself to work in the morning.

Good work-life balance

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For many people, a work-life balance is important to job satisfaction. Some salaried positions demand that you spend a lot of time away from home, resulting in less free time than you prefer. You also typically need to work those extra hours without extra pay.

Even hourly jobs can damage a work-life balance. Jobs that require a lot of overtime and odd hours that don’t align with your lifestyle can lead to burnout.

Competitive salary

ronstik/Adobe calendar having payday written on date with purple marker

As we said earlier, money isn’t everything. But you do want a job that pays well and compensates you for what you’re worth. 

You can determine if the salary is competitive by researching the average pay in your area for someone with your job title and experience.

Also, don’t forget to think about future raises. A good wage now doesn’t mean anything if your pay remains the same for the next 10 years.

Good benefits

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For many workers, a good benefits package is more appealing than a high salary. Weigh whether a company’s health and life insurance plans, paid time off, and matching 401(k) contributions fit your needs.

If these benefits don’t cover the things you need, you might spend a good chunk of your paycheck trying to fill in these gaps. 

In the end, you could end up with less money in your pocket even if the job offers a better salary.

Opportunities for advancement

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A good company will offer opportunities to advance over time. That means the possibility of regular raises and promotions as you prove your worth and gain skills and experience.

Some companies might even provide free training or assistance if you decide to pursue an advanced degree. These options will allow you to make more money in the future without costing you anything now but your time.

You feel challenged

Delmaine Donson/peopleimages.com/Adobe african american woman thinking while looking at sticky notes on wall

Some work can quickly become monotonous, leaving you to spend your time staring at the clock.

On the other hand, a job that offers a challenge can make your workday feel much shorter. It also will make you feel better about the work you do and provide you with opportunities to prove how essential you are to the company.

Pro tip: If you don't feel challenged at work, try a part-time job or start a side hustle. You might discover that you want to explore a new career and you'll make extra money to boot.

Friendly management

Krakenimages.com/Adobe happy business people praising boss at office while sitting at table

No one likes difficult management. When you have questions or concerns, you shouldn’t dread raising them with your superiors. 

Friendly, supportive superiors help you feel more comfortable approaching them with work questions, or when asking for time off.

Some employees with difficult managers might avoid asking management important questions. This can lead to poor job performance and even job loss. 

Friendly and professional superiors will help you perform better as an employee.

You like your colleagues

Prostock-studio/Adobe young happy colleagues at workspace talking to each other

Since you’ll spend at least 40 hours every week with colleagues, it’s important that you respect and get along with them. 

Gossiping co-workers who distract you from responsibilities will impact your work performance and happiness while on the job.

If you consider your co-workers to be friends, that’s even better. The day will go by much faster, and you can enjoy your time on the job while working together. 

Great location

Flamingo Images/Adobe african american man standing in bus smiling at smartphone in his hand

Commuting time is an important factor when choosing a new job. Your work likely takes up eight or more hours every day, so the last thing you want is to add more time to that than necessary.

The extra hours you spend driving to and from the office don’t result in bigger paychecks, but they do cut into your free time.

Longer commutes can also result in higher expenses. Gas and bus fares add up fast. When you get a salary offer, don’t forget to consider the money you'll pour into your commute.

Bottom line

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Starting pay and job title are important aspects of a new job, but they're not all that matters. Understanding the role and company will help you choose the right job for you.

Yes, you want work that lets you stop living paycheck to paycheck. But don’t forget to weigh other factors — from commute time to a company’s management — before accepting a job offer.

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Author Details

Katelyn Washington Katelyn Washington is a writer with a passion for finance and business. She put herself through business school as a single mother of three and has had pieces commissioned by national magazines. When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time with her family and editing manuscripts for indie authors.

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