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Now What Are You Going To Do?

You have driven your career search to a successful conclusion: offers on the table, all are very good, now what do you do? Obviously you will have to decline all but one of them, so how do you handle this?

What a great problem to have! Let’s take a moment to review the road you took to arrive at this sweet spot:

After much soul searching and reading several books on career change for attorneys, you took the time to thoroughly research positions. You determined which roles will utilize the skills that you enjoy using the most. You researched where you would be most marketable (and why), and then set your goals for both occupational setting compensation level. You took the time to prepare a strategic plan of action to balance the obligations of your current position with the time needed to devote to your search. You created a fantastic resume, hit your network for input and even had a few HR pros look it over. You researched target companies, expanded your network, reached out to business contacts, responded to ads, and paid attention to hiring trends in targeted companies and industries. When the calls came in, you did more research, prepped for each interview, showed your value and stood out above the competition.

Your search cranked along like a well-oiled machine and now here you are.

In law school you learned early on the value of due diligence. The same practice applies to determining what will be the best next move for you. You did the research to ace the interviews and get the offers, now you must continue the research, examine all possible scenarios for each and determine what will be the best long term move. You know now that you have gone through this, you don’t want to repeat the process in the next year or so. Find out all you can about the culture and work environment of each organization. Reach out on Linked In and look on The Vault and Twitter to see what employees say. Look up all personal information about those you would be working with on the company website bios, Linked In and Twitter to see if they are people that you could see yourself working with in the long term.

Scrutinize all available information about the company its continuing viability. You must evaluate whether the company will still be around in a few years. In today’s economy with industry trends changing and very successful companies failing, you have to look as far ahead as you possibly can.

When it comes time to make your choice, it is very important to be gracious and considerate of the organization and the hiring manager that made the offer. You should look at this as not a door closing, but a way to expand your business network. Make sure you do it promptly; this usually means no later than a week. Keep in mind, the organization is anticipating that you will accept. When you turn them down, they will be set back time-wise in their search. The sooner they know they will need to re-launch the search process, the better for the hiring manager. Do not leave a voice message or email: you owe a personal conversation to the individual who made the offer.

Be sure to start off with a heartfelt “Thank You”. It is very important to let them know that you carefully considered their offer and appreciate the time spent with you and are thankful you were chosen. In order to keep doors open, you have to convey that you were serious during the interview process and state your basis for turning it down. Honesty about the reason, whether it be money, culture, timing, or geography, will be appreciated. Be tactful, sincere and respectful so that when you offer to stay in touch and ask if you may keep them as a network contact, they will want to do so.

Always look at an offer as a great learning experience. Keep in mind that turning down an offer is about cultivating, not ending, a relationship. The manner in which you proceed will make an impact on your reputation and can improve your network. If you don’t handle it correctly, it can harm both.

Since 1990, The Barrett Group has successfully transitioned lawyers from law firms to new, exciting positions in industry, trade, non-profits, academia and a myriad of other private-sector organizations. If it’s time for you to seek career counsel, contact us: