Whether you’re a soon-to-be college graduate seeking your first job or an experienced job hunter, it’s important to remember that salaries are not the only thing to consider when a job offer comes your way. While the salary itself will be important in maintaining the lifestyle that you’re accustomed to, there are other factors to consider.
First, do reflect on the salary offered. Is the salary what you expected? Is it in line with what others in your field are earning? As you think about the salary, you may want to build a monthly budget to determine how much you need for bills and how much will be left over for spending on eating out or shopping. There are a number of online tools to help you build a budget, including Mint.com and Adaptu. In fact, both of these tools also offer mobile apps to help you keep track of your expenses on the go.
Benefits are a big consideration when evaluating a job offer. Carefully review the health, dental and vision insurance options. Will these coverages meet your anticipated needs? How much will it cost you? Will your benefits start immediately or do you have a waiting period? Ask to review a benefits enrollment package so that you can review the details and estimate your take-home pay accordingly since these premiums are often deducted from your paycheck.
Also, look at the retirement benefits offered. Can you invest in a company-sponsored 401(k) and is there a company match? Is there a pension or other retirement savings option? Also consider how these deductions will affect your take-home pay and your anticipated retirement funding.
Don’t forget to review the vacation and sick leave policies, and the number of paid holidays. You’ll also want to inquire about disability and life insurance, and other benefits like tuition reimbursement. All of these offerings contribute to your overall compensation – beyond the actual dollars deposited into your checking account each month.
Does your new job come with any perks like a mobile phone, gym membership, free parking or an on-site cafeteria? Can you participate in an employee stock-purchase program? Does the company offer flexible work arrangements? Depending on the perks offered, are you willing to accept a slightly lower salary if offset by these benefits?
Time and Travel
When evaluating your new job offer, think about the expected work hours. Will you be able to get the job done in the prescribed time frame? And, what will your commute be like if you work those hours? Another consideration is travel. If you are expected to travel, how often and for how long will you go on trips? Overall, are you willing to accept the working hours and associated travel expectations?
Perhaps even more important than any of the financial gains, will the new company offer growth opportunities? Is there opportunity for you to grow your career within the company through promotions or other career moves? Some companies have formal programs – like our Sodexo University – to help advance your professional knowledge. And, many companies will pay for your membership dues in professional associations. Ask about these opportunities before you accept the job offer.
Another extremely important aspect to evaluate is the corporate culture. You might have a fabulous job offer with the right salary, awesome benefits and everything you dreamed about … but if the corporate culture is a bad fit, then your career success may be doomed. For example, does the company have a strict dress code or is business casual acceptable? Does the company culture encourage career growth and team building?
How would others who work for the company describe their experience? If possible, speak with employees directly and thoroughly review the company’s web site and social media sites like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. All of these should provide a window into how the company operates, its values and how employees express those values through their work. When you listen to their stories, can you envision yourself working there or does it make you feel uneasy? At Sodexo, we provide a window into numerous areas of the company through a Network with Us page. Other companies may do the same.
Finding the right culture fit is extremely important for your personal happiness, which serves as a foundation for your career success.
Young professionals can easily get focused on the salary portion of a job offer. But, it’s extremely important to evaluate all of the benefits and perks associated with that offer, as well as career advancement opportunities and a keen review of the corporate culture. Sometimes, money isn’t everything.
Trish is a senior communications manager for Sodexo, a world leader in quality of daily life solutions that contribute to the progress of individuals and the performance of organizations. As a member of the marketing and communications team for Sodexo’s Talent Acquisition department since 2010, Trish is an employment expert who aims to educate job candidates about the hiring process, networking opportunities and the culture of Sodexo. A graduate of Marist College (BA – Psychology) and the University of Southern Mississippi (MS – Public Relations), Trish has never been far from the classroom. As a former adjunct professor for the College of Charleston and professional advisor for the college’s Public Relations Student Society of America chapter, she enjoys helping students reach for their potential and guide them through the process of preparing for their future careers. A lover of technology and gadgets, cookies, chocolate and baking, Trish spends most of her free time raising two small children and competing with husband to obtain the most stamps in her National Parks Passport book. Feel free to connect with Trish or learn more about careers at Sodexo.