Congratulations! After countless interviews and multiple rejections, you have finally received a job offer. Now, the job offer might not be your first choice or your dream job, but let’s be honest - an offer is an offer. Before jumping on board and accepting anything, there are several facets of the offer letter and employment package you should consider.
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Although you probably interviewed for the position and understand the responsibilities of the job and all that comes with the job title, you should still try to envision the job’s requirements. Sometimes, the job offer will not be the position you interviewed for, but another position within the company that the hiring manager saw as a better fit for your skill set. Note your expectations for the job and re-read the job description. Highlight all the aspects of the job description that are appealing to you and find reasons why you are not a good fit for the job. If the job offer is the exact position you interviewed for, then it will be easy to see where your skills match up; however, if the job differs from the original interview, then it would take more time and thought as to whether you want to pursue it. Through a pros and cons list, you gain better knowledge about the position and know what is being offered to you.
Location of the company
Whether or not you had a geographic location in mind when you began the job search process, you should think about relocating if the job is in a different city, state, country, or geographic area than you originally had hoped. Often, it is not a bad idea to keep your options open and interview at companies located across the nation. However, the location of the company will affect your daily commute, and ultimately where you will live as you begin adulthood. Is the job close to home? Consider the option of living with your parents for a bit to save money. Is the daily commute more than an hour from where you currently reside? I would suggest apartment hunting to shorten the commute to and from work.
Then, of course, there is the consideration of salary. Job offers normally include the rate of pay and salary for the position. I advise researching the national average salary for the job in the prospective geographic location; for example, if the job is for an entry-level administrative assistant located in Chicago, then I would research the national and statewide average salaries for administrative assistants. This will allow you to compare your offer with the national average. Does your offered salary fall below the national average? If so, by how much? Moreover, understand the rate of pay, if you will get paid on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, and if you are hourly or salaried. Hourly wages usually qualify for overtime pay whereas salaries do not.Also, consider the total number of hours you will be working per week, since that will factor into your pay.
Salary, which usually commensurates with experience, takes into consideration the benefits package offered by the employer. Each company has a different benefits package for various levels of employment, but I suggest reading over the company’s policy regarding benefits. Make note of what types of health insurance, life insurance, and retirement plans are offered. Will the company match your retirement savings? If so, by how much? How much will the company be contributing toward your health plan? What types of health benefits are available to you? Not only that, but examine the company’s policies on paid time off, sick days, and paid holidays. How many personal days will you accrue in your first year? When does the company close, and are holidays paid? Ultimately, the salary accompanied by the benefits form a comprehensive package that you will want to understand before accepting or rejecting the offer.
Though this is up to your personal preference, opportunities for continuous learning might be an important part of your decision to accept or reject a job offer. Continuous learning refers to resources allotted to you by the company to enhance your skills as a professional in your field. Some companies offer webinars, seminars, conferences, tuition reimbursements for select courses toward a Master’s degree, and networking opportunities, which can all contribute toward your professional development. If these opportunities are not clearly stated in the job offer, be sure to ask about them before making a decision.
Opportunities for advancement
Continuous learning allows you to work on the skills you need in your field, which leads to promotions and higher mobility within the company. If the chance to move up the ladder within the company appeals to you, then note the chances of succeeding over the course of your stay at the company. Chances are, these opportunities are not that clearly identified in the job offer, so you will want to inquire about the opportunities for advancement during a second or final round interview just before coming to a decision. Some consider advancement opportunities within the company to be an important factor in the job search process while others do not.
Based on my experience, I would advise you to consider your career goals before accepting or rejecting a job offer, especially if you are deciding among multiple offers. For me, my decision to accept my job came from my future career goals and what I wanted to achieve as a professional. One position aligned better with my ambitions than the other, which ultimately led to my decision. Try and create a road map to your “dream” job, and picture yourself where you are as an established professional. Think about how your first job will lead you in the direction of your future career and provide you with the experience you need to build a skill set. The first job is important in helping you establish a career, which is why you should consider your professional aspirations when deliberating an offer. Will the job help you network and foster relationships with industry professionals? Is the organization small enough that you will be able to gain experience through hands-on learning? How will the job place you in a position for success and mobility toward your future career goals?
All these factors present you with the ability to weigh your options and see if you are a fitting candidate for the job. The job offer comes with both pros and cons, and it is up to you to decide if the company, position, and people are the right first job. Everyone has a different checklist when job searching, and I highly encourage you to see if the job offer fits your criteria before accepting or rejecting.
Sara Kim graduated with a B.A. in Journalism and a double minor in Health Policy and Management and Asian American Studies from Ithaca College. She currently works as an Event Coordinator at a non-profit. In her free time, she enjoys working out, reading, watching movies, and cooking. Fun fact: as a foodie, she loves to try new foods and travel to new places.