One of the first things that comes to mind when hunting for a job is the question of how much you will be compensated for your time. Some people only have an estimate of what they think they should be paid, others figure their compensation based on past similar jobs and others simply check statistics.
After you have determined what industry you want to work in (See Dating a Company) you will want to determine your expected Salary and Benefits. A good site to check out is the Bureau of Labor Statistics: BLS.
When you decide you know roughly what you can expect to be making, you are then able to determine where you may be able to afford to work on that income based on the cost of living. Remember, 60k in Cleveland is a lot different than 60k in Chicago.
In this day and age, compensation typically includes salary with other benefits. Benefits like medical and dental insurance as well as profit sharing options and retirement savings plans. Keep in mind as you filter through these options which jobs offer the ones that best suit your lifestyle and future needs. If you are motivated by Profit Sharing frameworks, be sure to seek jobs that offer these.
Are you in a position to get better insurance at another company? Would you have to forfeit the 10% contribution to get that coverage? You must then go one step further and imagine that if you end up with better insurance, do you project that the cost savings from the insurance will supersede the gains you could have made with the 10% contribution in your retirement savings?
Make a note that the financial data should be used to HELP INFLUENCE your decision, not be the sole purpose to accept or deny positions.
There is also a trend now for the benefits to further include on-site services. These gems can really hold some weight when you compare their benefits to your lifestyle. Surely, one of the best things to have at work is an onsite recreation center. Obviously, you are able to exercise during the day or directly after work and really have few excuses to skip the gym. When you drill deeper though, you realize that the onsite facility also saves you money because you don’t have to burn the gas in your car to drive to the gym.
As you seek out opportunities in your career, remember to look at the big picture and do what feels correct to you. Remember to evaluate everything objectively in order to get a more accurate picture of the data, then use the data to help influence your decisions!