13 Things To Consider When Looking for a Job

Updated April 7, 2023

When looking for a new job, understanding factors such as company values, work environment and compensation can help you find a role that suits both your personality and your career goals. In this article, we describe 13 things to consider when looking for a job.

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Things to look for in a job

To determine which position is best for you, consider these 13 things to look for in a job.

1. Company history

While no one can predict the future, understanding a company's history can give you a glimpse into its stability, values and culture. Find out as much as you can about a potential employer from press releases, websites and social media accounts. Some important things to look for include:

  • How long has the company been in business?

  • Is the company expanding or downsizing?

  • Has the company had any major advancements/are they expanding into new industries?

  • How does your potential employer compare to other companies in their industry?

  • How often has the company laid off employees?

  • Has the company been in the news for legal or financial troubles?

The relative importance of each of these questions will depend on your situation. For example, if you have a family and job security is important to you, look for companies that are expanding, have lots of good press and are leaders in their industry.

Related: The Complete Guide To Researching a Company

2. Company values

Work doesn't feel like work when your career goals are aligned with the goals of your employer. When you research a potential employer, compare your values with an employer's mission statement, core values and business model. Many companies also support charitable organizations or partner with community groups. If you want your work to help the world at large, this may be a factor to consider when looking for a job.

Related: How To Find a Job That Aligns With Your Ethical Values

3. Job location

When considering the length of your workday, you must think about both your working hours and your commute time. Be realistic about how much time you are willing to spend going back and forth to work every day. If your commute requires time stuck in rush-hour traffic, consider how that will affect your working hours and stress level. If a job requires an especially long commute, consider how your time on the road will affect your non-work life, including kids' activities, dating, family time and fitness activities.

The cost of your commute should be a factor when comparing salaries from different companies. Fuel and parking costs can eat away at your take-home pay.

4. Working hours

As working hours can vary widely from company to company, you must know how a job's work hours will fit into your life. Find out how many work hours are expected in a "normal" week and how extra work time is handled. You should also find out if holiday or weekend work is required and if you must be "on-call" when away from work.

5. Salary

Your compensation package should be able to meet your basic needs and help you plan for the future. As you look for a job, be sure to review your budget and understand how much you need to earn to pay your bills. Research the salary range for jobs you are considering so that you can better negotiate a starting salary.

Related: 6 Tips For Your Next Salary Negotiation

6. Benefits

When comparing several companies, it is important to compare benefits packages. Health insurance is an important benefit for everyone, but not every company provides health insurance or provides it at a reasonable rate. A job that offers a retirement saving plan can help you plan for the future while you work. You should also look at how each company handles vacation time and sick days.

If you have to move to your new job, find out if the company covers relocation costs. Don't ignore smaller perks such as employee discounts on company merchandise and discounted wellness memberships.

Related: Employee Benefits: Examples of the Most Common Employee Perks

7. Job responsibilities

To be successful in a job, you need to find a position that aligns with your strengths. If you are most comfortable in a supportive role, it may not be wise to step into a job where you are responsible for important decisions. Likewise, your role as part of a team may be very different than a job that requires you to work solo. Compare these job factors with your personality and optimum work environment to find the best fit for you.

8. Technology

In many jobs, you will be required to use technological tools such as computers, smartphones, and tablets. Before accepting a job offer, find out which tech the company provides and which you must supply yourself. You should also have a solid understanding of the software, hardware, and operating systems you will be expected to use on the job.

9. Opportunities for growth

Jobs that provide growth opportunities are especially important in the early years of your career. Earlier in your career, you may work in roles that offer an entry-level pay rate in exchange for the opportunity to gain experience and earn a full-time position.

If you are further along in your career, look for opportunities to develop new skills in your job. Many companies offer on-site training or pay for classes as part of your professional development. Look for a job that teaches you transferable skills, helps you move into a senior position or helps you move toward larger career goals.

10. Recognition and appraisal

Everyone appreciates praise and recognition for a job well done. When looking for a job, find out how potential employers encourage growth and reward hard work. Common performance incentives include bonuses, yearly trips, and awards.

11. Work-Life balance

Achieving a work-life balance is a critical part of your overall health and well-being. Jobs that are very demanding for a short time may be exciting and highly rewarding, but you may find it helpful to balance periods of demanding hours with time off. Ask your potential employer about their policies on vacation, sick days, and work-from-home flexibility.

Finding a balance between work and the rest of your life becomes especially important if you are a working parent. Ask about the company's policies on sick days (for both you and your children) and leaving work early for special events.

Related: 29 Family-Friendly Positions for Working Parents

12. Work environment

Because you will be spending a lot of time at work, make sure that the work environment is a good fit for you. Consider whether you prefer working in a small company or a large corporation. Check out the workspaces and try to get a feel for the place. A workspace that excites you can increase your job satisfaction and overall happiness.

When you visit for an interview, watch employees as they work to see if employees look happy and the workplace seems pleasant. Be sure to check out how employees are dressed and if you are unsure, ask about the company dress code.

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13. Colleagues

Your future colleagues are going to be a huge part of your life, so try to get to know as many as possible before accepting a job offer. Pay attention to how coworkers interact with each other and ask as many questions as possible about the working environment. Take note of management as they work with junior staff. A friend or family member already employed by the company can provide useful information regarding the work atmosphere, stress level, and pace.

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