Congratulations! You have received your first a full-time job offer. For many college students, it’s tempting to accept on the spot; however I always advise students to take their time, think things through, and review all offers in detail with their College Career Advisor. You want to make sure you are making the right decision for you, and you never want to damage your personal brand by reneging on an offer with a company. When a student comes into my office to review an offer, we often discuss a variation of the following:
Does the company culture fit you on a personal and/or professional level? Do you believe in their values, products, and initiatives? Does the position and/or organization excite you? Can you see yourself working in this specific office/in this specific location/with these individuals? Is this a company and position you’d be genuinely happy and satisfied working for?
Growth and development
As this is your first full-time position, is it going to help you in building your professional foundation? Does the company provide professional development and/or mentoring opportunities? Where do people go after this position…are employees promoted from within or do they have to look for that next step elsewhere?
What is the turnover rate within the organization? Is the company financially sound? Have there been massive layoffs in the past year? It’s not only important to find out about the company’s stability, but also about the strength of the industry it serves.
Salary and benefits
Is your salary fair and competitive? If you are going to attempt to negotiate salary, make sure you have a leg to stand on. Research various sources to get an understanding of salary and hiring trends. Note that sometimes recruiters cannot budge on the actual salary, but may be able to give you more money in the form of a signing bonus or relocation assistance. When it comes to benefits, look at the big picture. In addition to health insurance, make sure you review items such as sick and vacation leave, tuition reimbursement, company perks/discounts, retirement, and training. Also take into consideration your cost of living/geographic location; $50,000 in Indianapolis is very different than $50,000 in NYC.
While this list is far from comprehensive, I hope it provides you with some starting points when beginning to review your job offer. Usually recruiters will provide you with a deadline for your acceptance; if you genuinely need more time, it is always acceptable to ask for an extension. Accepting a job offer is a big decision. Although it is important to take the time to review your offer in detail, you ultimately need to follow your gut…you’ll know if it’s the right opportunity.
Heather serves as a Career Advisor for Loyola University Chicago’s Career Development Center. In her role, she assists students and alumni with their overall career development through individual counseling, group workshops, and in the classroom via her Career and Life Planning Lab. Heather’s areas of expertise within the career space include networking, social media engagement, ePortfolios, resumes, and personal branding. Prior to working in Career Services, Heather worked for Sony Music in the areas of Marketing, Sales, and Promotion.She received her BA in Communication & Culture from Indiana University and her MA in Higher Education & Student Affairs from The Ohio State University – GO BUCKS! You can connect with Heather on Twitter and LinkedIn.