Making a Decision When You Have Multiple Job Offers

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To have multiple job offers is a position we all want to be in. I’m sure if you’re early in your job search, it seems like a dream to have more than one offer. So what happens if you do find yourself in this position? At first, you might be filled with elation at the choice you have. Then you may realise that you actually have to make quite a tough decision! This situation presents it’s own challenges like FOMO (fear of missing out), wanting to avoid regret, and wanting to make the best decision for your future. It can be difficult to know what factors to prioritise in this process of decision-making. There are steps you can take at the beginning of the job search process through to the point of holding multiple job offers that can make the decision a lot easier. Here is a process you can follow to do this:

  1. Decide on your criteria beforehand

Map out what your ideal criteria for your job is beforehand. This may seem daunting unnecessary if you just really want to be employed or make a career change. However if you find yourself in the position of holding multiple offers, this will really help you. Make a list of the different factors that are must-haves for you in your next role. These could be directly to do with the work itself, the level of the role or the industry. Or, it could be related to the benefits e.g. salary, pension or holiday. Do the same with what red lines you have i.e. what you definitely don’t want. For example, you may not want a commute over an hour. Finally, make a list of the factors you would compromise on. You might be willing to do a longer commute if you were allowed to work from home once a week.

  1. Create plans A, B and C

This is almost like deciding on the best and worst case scenarios. Your plan A is your absolute ideal scenario for your role. It incorporates all your must-haves and avoids all your red lines from the exercise above. Plan B is the next level down which has a mix of these factors, and Plan C is the absolute minimum you would settle for if you had to. Plan C could also then act as an interim position if you just wanted to get into employment or a specific industry, before moving onto a role that falls within Plan B or A.

  1. Focus your efforts on plan A

When you start applying for jobs, focus your energy on looking for jobs that fall within your Plan A. These are the jobs you actually want, so they are more worth putting your energy into. You may find your criteria change a little as you actually see live jobs, which is totally fine. Once you have explored Plan A, move to Plan B only if you aren’t seeing the jobs that you want or aren’t successful in these applications. Set yourself a timeline for each plan and work through them so you know when to move to the next one.

  1. Match your options against your criteria and values

Once you get into the position of holding multiple job offers (lucky you!), this is when the work you did beforehand will pay off. You can now match your offers to the criteria you created at the start. This will give you something tangible to hold them up against and see which ones really match what you want. It’s also important to think about your core personal values and what job matches these as well.

  1. Decide!

There will come a point where you actually have to make a decision, and this process can involve many other steps if you are still confused after going through the previous steps. Talk to your friends and family to get advice. Make a pros and cons list for each role. Negotiate your salary or other terms and benefits if needed with your employers – when you have an offer, you hold more leverage to do this. Try to sit with the decision for at least 24 hours before making it, as you will find that you have a gut feeling about a particular role once you have gone through all these steps.   Although there is no magic formula to making career decisions, doing some work beforehand can help you feel prepared. Deciding between multiple job offers that are all attractive can have you going round in circles. Developing criteria, plans and taking a focused approach to applying will mean that these options are more likely to be the right ones for you so any decision will be positive, and you will have done a lot of the thinking beforehand to make it all easier and lighter.

If you are ready to take your career outside the lab and want to know how to start, watch our webinar on How Science Graduates Can Get a High Paying Job Outside the Lab Even if You Have Little to No Work Experience.

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