Dear Matt: I’m considering leaving my current job. How does anyone really know if their next job is a better job or the right fit for them?

Matt says: Unless you are completely miserable at your current job or have been unemployed (or underemployed), taking any new job is a risk. Before making the move, consider the pros and cons.

“Ask yourself what your needs and goals are at this time in your life,” says Frances Cole Jones (francescolejones.com), speaker and author of “How to Wow: Proven Strategies for Selling Your (Brilliant) Self in any Situation” and “The Wow Factor: The 33 Things You Must (and Must Not) Do to Guarantee Your Edge in Today’s Business World”.

“Some people need to pay off their student loans and are willing to work long hours/travel for business. Others have a young family and need to put quality of life at the top of their list.”

Here are six things every job seeker must consider before taking a new job.

1. Is there room for promotion or improvement? If the new opportunity gives you the chance to learn new skills, add new challenges and grow as a professional at a greater rate than your current employer, then take the new job. For example, if you are using dated technology at your current employer, you might be reading job descriptions and requirements for positions you are interested in, but feel like you are falling behind.

2. Company culture. Did you meet your future co-workers? Will you fit in as part of this team? Do you like the office setting — is it an open office or cube environment? How about workplace flexibility? Don’t assume you can work from home when you want, or e-mail to say you will be late or take a day off without advanced notice. Ask about those policies before you accept the job.

3. Management style. Does your current boss drive you mad by micromanaging? Or do you feel he or she isn’t involved enough? Have you asked your new boss how much — or how little — communication he or she prefers?

4. Don’t overlook the commute. Will you gain time every day with a shorter commute, or is it a longer commute that will make you miserable? If you think you can handle a longer drive, don’t forget about those icy and snowy winter months.

5. Salary and benefits. If you get a bump in pay, will that keep you happy if you don’t like the job or have to pay more for gas because of a longer commute? How much do benefits cost? If the cost of benefits (include potential out-of-pocket expenses) is higher, does that make the salary increase a wash?

6. How will this move affect the rest of your family and other people in your life?

Take the time to truly analyze what’s important professionally and personally — then trust your instincts.

Contact Matt at jobslink@startribune.com.