If you have been job hunting for awhile, landing a job may make you so happy that you do not stop to consider whether this position is exempt or non-exempt. What does that mean? You know from having non-exempt positions on your resume that non-exempt means that you are paid hourly, and you must be paid overtime for hours worked that are more than 40 hours per week. Your manager must acknowledge and pay you for time worked before or after work, lunch hours, on-call hours, and meeting and lectures attended outside of regular work hours. You will get more money if you work overtime hours. All this time tracking is documented on some sort of time card. The down side of non-exempt status is that you rarely get to do the conferences, meetings and lectures outside of regular working hours because you have to be paid one and a half times your regular rate for those hours. Employers do not want to pay out the extra money.
Exempt positions are paid on a salary or combined salary and bonus basis. If your position is exempt, you must work however many hours you need to get your job done. And you do not get paid any extra money for working through lunch or going to conferences. You usually do not fill in a time card for an exempt position. Anyone who has taken on the jobs of employees who have been downsized will tell you that working in an exempt position can be tough because you work longer for virtually no more pay to get the work done.
If you have been working and job hunting during the recession, it is likely that your resume has both exempt and non-exempt positions on it. Don’t forget to learn which status your new job has. It is a nasty shock after getting paid extra money for a lot of overtime to move to an exempt position where you may be working just as many hours for no extra pay.