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Don’t Fence Me In

Boundaries can help your job search

➔ Everyone in a job search has boundaries. Some are geographic. Some are monetary. Some are… fill in the blank. Whatever yours are, that’s fine. But, everyone has them.

It’s best to know your boundaries before you begin your job search. It’s good also to know your boundaries every step of the way. Salary. Benefits. Even before you go into an interview. You need to know. As Harry Calahan (Clint Eastwood) said in the Dirty Harry movies, “Man’s got to know his limitations.”

Carve out your territory

If you establish your boundaries up front, they will serve you well during the job search… and they will help you land a new position with which you’ll be happy.

Of course the most obvious parameters are monetary. Put pencil to paper so as to determine precisely what your bottom line number is to survive. While any of us would love to have no upper limit, realistically, ceilings will help you remain competitive and keep you a viable candidate.

But don’t stop with dollars. Figure out your requirements for “total compensation” – not just salary. Do you need the same benefits that you had 30 years ago? Will you need more health insurance or scheduling flexibility? Will two weeks vacation be acceptable?

If you know all your boundaries you’ll be in a much better position to know where you can give and where you need to stand pat. What are your “must-haves” as opposed to what you would like to have?

Be sure to consider the “hidden costs” of the new job. Will you have to pay for parking? A dedicated work cell phone or uniforms may come into play. Will you be willing to absorb any of those expenses? If so, in change for what?

It’s part of your pre-planning, part of your personal brand. Just as you would do homework on a company, you’ll be best served if you also do sufficient homework on yourself.


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