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Job Offers

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You did it! You finally got the phone call you were waiting for--that job offer! Now what? If you're stepping into your first career or making a change, you should carefully consider any job offers before accepting. Some important things to think about...


Salary is only ONE factor in an ideal job offer, however, it is often thought of as the most important.

  • Relocating - Be aware of any salary differentials. A salary offer that may not seem appropriate for Silicon Valley could be competitive in the Midwest.
  • Negotiating - Salary negotiations are not always a given. In most cases, employers recruiting on campus are savvy about starting wages for entry-level college graduates. Before you decide to negotiate your salary, consider:
    • Who is offering the job
    • The type of job
    • The industry
    • The economic forecast
    • Size of the organization.
    • Also, factor in your experience, skills, education, etc.
  • Salary Tips
    • Decide what you want, need and what you can settle for.
    • Research the salary range of the job that the employer or industry has established.
    • Don't discuss salary until you have received a firm offer, but before you accept the position.
    • Try not to be the first to mention money--you do not want to "low ball" yourself.
    • Be prepared to have a salary range in mind. Never have a single figure--give yourself more room to negotiate, but be realistic.
    • Be prepared to give a range backed up by information on the relevant labor market and job type.
  • Salary Web Resources
    • Salary Survey
      Average starting salary information compiled by the National Association of Colleges and Employers.
    • JobStar.com
      Find links to a myriad of salary ranges categorized by location, gender, and company size.
    • America's Career Info Net 
      Search for information on wages and trends.
    • The Riley Guide
      Answer the question "What are You Worth?"
    • Salary.com
      Get a range of high, median, and low salaries for various jobs by inputting an industry, an occupation, and a Zip code.
    • PayScale
      Excellent analysis comparing your job profile to the salary and benefits of people in your location with similar skills and experience.
    • U.S. Department of Labor - Occupational Employment Statistics
      Browse statistics by metropolitan area, state, and national data.
    • HOMEFAIR.com
      Calculate the salary you will need in your new city to maintain your current standard of living.
    • WetFeet
      Find several articles about negotiating salaries on the state-based site.
    • CollegeGrad.com
      Visit this excellent site to learn more about savvy negotiation.



If the offered salary is a bit lower than you expected, you may want to take a look at the benefits package. Examine the compensation packet carefully and don't hesitate to ask the HR representative questions about vacation, dental, medical, optical and retirement benefits. Also consider "perks" such as bonuses, paid lunches, stock options, etc.


If commuting is an issue for you, take this into account in your overall evaluation of the offer. Research whether the employer is accessible via bus, subway train or shuttle.


Work Schedule 
Many employers now support telecommuting or offer flexible work hours. Find out what options are open to you and weigh these with your preferred lifestyle.


Career Development 
It is important to work somewhere where your career growth will be supported and encouraged.

  • Does the employer have a policy on helping with continuing education costs (masters degrees, technical training, writing courses, etc.)?
  • Is there room to grow within the company?
  • How often will your performance be reviewed and does this include a salary review?
  • Will you be given challenging opportunities?


Does the organization compensate for overtime hours and, if so, how? Most organizations will not pay overtime for salaried employees but many will offer "comp time" or break-time for project teams. If you are expected to work overtime, inquire about how often it will happen; are there peak times for overtime?


Office Culture
Also consider the environment you will be working in: Your boss, co-workers, and the overall focus and drive of a company will greatly impact your happiness, productivity, and success in an organization.