When you find yourself in the market for a new job, it can be a daunting experience to sort through all of the opportunities available. Once you’ve dwindled down your options, you then have to figure out if the companies that you are looking at are good fit for your current situation. However, to look at the company with the mindset of your current situation would be a mistake, you need to make sure it meets your short term and long term goals. There are many variables to take into account; your family situation, medical/dental benefits, retirement savings options, career progression and many others. Looking at the following four major areas will help you decide if a company is right for you.

Medical/Dental Benefits

The first thing to look at, and what I consider to be the most important factor, is healthcare benefits. Some of you might say, it doesn’t matter, I’m single. You won’t care as much about health benefits since most good companies cover healthcare for the employee at near 100%. But do you go to the doctor a lot? Do you foresee needing new glasses or contact lenses in the near future? Do you need orthodontia? If you are married with five kids and three of them have pre-existing conditions with a long list of prescription meds, then it becomes paramount to find the best medical/dental benefits.

Everyone’s situation is different, but regardless of your personal situation, medical/dental benefits should be a deciding factor in your search for a new company. If you are lucky, you may find a company that is willing to pay 100% coverage for the whole family. This is generally found with smaller companies. This leads to my next area to focus on: company size.

Size of the Company

Should the size of the company have any impact on your search for a new company? The answer is yes and no, and here’s why.  There are major differences in a company that has seven employees and one that has 50,000 employees. The culture is different in smaller companies; they will be more motivated and hungry for sustained success. In a smaller company you’ll get more opportunities to wear multiple hats. You might have a 9-5 billable position within the company, but after hours they call on you to help write proposals and do some marketing/recruiting at different events. Company parties are more intimate and you know everyone who works for the company. There is much more camaraderie present in a small company, and you get opportunities and visibility you might not get in a larger corporation.

In a larger company, you could get lost in the fray unless you are working at the corporate headquarters or very close to where your supervisor is. The upside though, is a larger company generally has better benefits because of a larger overhead budget. Usually there is more time off given to the employee and better benefits due to the amount of employees they have on staff. A larger company is going to have a bigger marketing machine and likely much more work and follow on work across multiple contract vehicles.

If you are single and young, you may likely prefer to be in a smaller sized company where you can grow and gain experience from the ground up. So the answer is yes, and no; if you want stability and a steady stream of work, go for the bigger company. If you care less about stability and want to help a company grow, go with the smaller company.

Retirement Savings Options

Retirement savings is very important. If you get to the age of retirement and you don’t have enough money in the bank to sustain a decent lifestyle as you ride off into the sunset, then it’s going to be a miserable existence. It super important if you are older, as you need to ensure you are saving as much as you can to prepare for retirement. If you are younger, the earlier you start to invest in retirement, the more money you will have. Find a company that will match 100% of your contributions up to a certain percentage, 4% is usually on par for a good company. Some companies may match up to 6-8%, which is amazing. If you aren’t contributing to a 401k account through your company, you are leaving free money on the table. Do your research and find out who the brokerage is that will handle your account and what their target date funds records are for returns.

Well-Defined Career Paths

There are some companies who are just starting out and may not have a clearly defined career progression model. That’s a risk you have to be willing to take. Larger companies will have very well defined career progression models and will go to great lengths to ensure you are progressing within your path of choice. Some companies are only interested in making sure you are billing the customer. They only care about “butts in seats.”  In my experience, I only had to work for one company like this to know to avoid them at all costs going forward. If you are looking to have career progression, make sure your company has a well laid out plan for success.

It Depends on You

Everyone’s situation is going to be different. There will be things that are important to you that aren’t important to me. The best way to decide on a company is to first re-evaluate your current situation and what your long and short terms goals are. It’s hard to pick a road when you don’t know where you are going.

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Greg Stuart is the owner and editor of vDestination.com. He's been a VMware vExpert every year since 2011. Greg enjoys spending time with his wife and 3 kids. He has 20 years of IT experience and currently works as an IT Consultant both in the private and public sector. Greg holds a BS in Information Technology and an MBA degree. He currently resides in Southeast Idaho. You can follow him on Twitter @vDestination, read his blog (vDestination.com) and listen to his podcast (vDestination.com/feed/podcast).