The old saying that “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush” is certainly an odd one. But at the core of this saying is the idea that the resources you have at your disposal in the here-and-now are of greater value than theoretical resources that may or may not come your way later.

This old adage holds much truth and should apply, at least to some degree, in your thought processes where finding a job is concerned.

Employed candidates are more attractive

There are some practical issues that need to be addressed on this topic. For example, according to statistics, it is also generally easier to find a new job with a better salary when you are employed. Employers gravitate towards the resumés of individuals who already have jobs.

In one study by Infinity Consulting Solutions, 417 job hunters were surveyed and 59 per cent agreed that employed individuals were given preferential treatment. A likely reason behind this phenomenon is that employers figure that if you were a truly valuable commodity, you would already have a job.

Of course, this idea is inaccurate, but it will likely continue to persist for the foreseeable future. As a result, if you are unemployed, you might want to take the job you are offered so you can more easily move on to work with a different company in the future.

Assess your financial situation

Take a look at your family’s needs for the near future and also the long-term. If you are in dire financial straits and need immediate employment, then you should likely take the job that is offered to you.

On the other hand, if you are fairly certain that other offers are around the corner and you don’t have financial issues, then waiting may make sense.

Now as for the contrary view, it should be pointed out that if you jump at the first job you are offered, you could easily sell yourself short. If you are in a downward economic cycle where jobs are scarce, then jumping on that first job offer makes a lot more sense than it would if you are in a booming economy.

Make sure you investigate the appropriate salary for your position and skill level. You don’t want to hold out for a salary that virtually no one is getting in your given field.

Is there room for advancement?

Another key question is whether or not the job you are offered is a “dead-end job” or has room for advancement. Many people end up with fantastic jobs they like with excellent pay, but these jobs didn’t start out that way.

On occasion, a lower-paying job may be the better long-term strategy where advancement is concerned. However, if you plan to take a job with hopes of a better salary and position in the future, make sure these options are really open to you.

In some cases, employers will try to lure people into low-paying jobs by stating that there is room for advancement, but there is no factual evidence to back up their statements. You may want to take a few minutes to talk to other employees at the company and see if they believe promotions are indeed possible.

On-the-job experience

Another consideration is that of experience. If the low-paying job in question offers great experience and will boost your resumé, then it is definitely offering something additional in value. This could be quite helpful in securing a better-paying job one or two years down the road.

Ultimately, every job-seeking situation is radically different, as every job seeker has his own set of needs and circumstances.

There is no cookie-cutter approach that can determine whether or not you should take a lower-paying job instead of a higher-paying one. However, by following the points outlined in this article, you stand a good chance of making the right choice.

Article by Kate Smedley, an associate writer with Sandbox Advisors, a firm which helps people with careers, job search and training in Singapore.