Starting salary is undoubtedly a high priority for job seekers, but choosing the right firm for you – especially if you're juggling multiple offers – is often more complicated than just going with the highest bidder. Jobs with benefits that go beyond basic offerings can be extremely appealing, even if compensation is lower than other opportunities. Read on to learn about the coolest and most generous benefits to look for during your job search and how to identify employers who offer these perks.
Reimbursements and discounts
Health insurance, dental coverage and paid time off are a few of the more common types of benefits that can directly impact your bottom line. But some organizations offer compensation in other ways, such as tuition reimbursement, performance-based bonuses or subsidized professional development opportunities. More and more employers also are partnering with local retail outlets, athletic facilities and service providers to offer discounted products and services to employees.
Telecommuting and flexible schedules
Flexibility in when and where you complete your work is important to anyone who's ever had to juggle doctor appointments, dance recitals, carpool arrangements and other activities of an active life. Jobs with benefits that allow you to adjust your hours, choose your workspace or work from home can not only help you better balance work and personal demands but also cut down on the time and expense of commuting to and from the workplace.
The little things
While an extra week of vacation time can be great, don't underestimate the importance of your day-to-day job satisfaction. Many organizations offer small benefits that positively impact employees' daily lives in big ways, such as:
- Free meals and snacks
- Laundry service
- Fitness classes
- Pet-walking services
- On-site child-care service and after-school programs
- On-site pharmacy and/or medical clinic
- Private concierge services
- On-site game rooms
Uncovering jobs with benefits that appeal to you
So how can you identify employers who offer awesome benefits and perks? Step one is to check the website of the firm you're targeting. Many employers now include at least a partial list of benefits offerings for potential hires to peruse.
Look for companies listed on Best Places to Work compilations. Major publications such as FORTUNE® magazine rank some of the largest firms in the country. If you're more interested in working for a smaller organization, review local publications such as business journals, which often put out lists of top employers in the area.
You also can ask the hiring manager or human resources coordinator at a company you've applied to: What benefits does the firm provide? Which ones does he or she consider most valuable (and how often does he or she use them)? Just be sure to save these questions for later in the hiring process, once the firm has expressed serious interest in bringing you on board. Otherwise, you risk coming across as being more interested in the perks than the position itself.
During your job hunt, don't hesitate to reach out to contacts in your professional network who currently work for or have worked for an organization you're considering. Who better to provide insight than someone with direct experience? Your contacts can be especially helpful in understanding the finer points of certain benefits and perks. For example, if the firm offers telecommuting options, how often can employees work from home, and is the program restricted to certain positions only? How costly are medical premiums and deductibles, and how comprehensive are the services provided?
One last stop for uncovering jobs with benefits that interest you might be to visit review sites such as Glassdoor, which feature direct feedback from current and former employees. You can potentially get the inside scoop on some of the lesser-known benefits an organization offers. But take the reviews with a grain of salt; many are anonymous and provided by past workers who may have an ax to grind.
Make sure the benefits are right for you
As you're narrowing down your list of potential targets, consider what value an organization's benefits will truly have for you. If you're already hitting the gym four times a week, and your new workplace features an on-site fitness facility, for example, that's one monthly bill you may be able to eliminate. But if you're more likely to just wave at the folks on the treadmills as you head to the vending machines, this cool-sounding perk might not have the impact you initially assume it will. Be honest about which perks you're likely to take advantage of and which ones you'll probably forget about a month into the new job.