How To Evaluate The Offer A Company Gives You
Whether you’re graduating and applying for full-time positions, or still in school and looking at part-time jobs or internship opportunities, knowing how to evaluate a job offer is essential to ensure you find the right fit before you commit. Here are some tips to keep in mind as those offers start flowing in and you consider your career options!
Understand your expectations
Before you can properly evaluate an offer, you should take an inventory of what you desire for a position. Sometimes, it’s such a relief to have received an offer, or it’s the first offer you’ve received, that it is easy to forget what you really wanted prior to applying. If you have benefits you need or hope to have in an offer, list them somewhere for reference so you don’t forget about something you value.
Look at the offer as a whole, not just the salary
Before you push aside an offer based on salary alone, make sure you understand the value of the additional benefits offered. For example, if you have job offers from in different locations, take into account the cost of living in each area. Additionally, consider the insurance coverage the companies are providing. Also, factor in any tuition assistance, if it’s offered and you plan on going back to school at some point. Next, examine amenities like child care or workout facilities. These extras can be expensive, so be sure factor in the cost, especially if one offer contains more amenities, but a lower salary than another. It’s amazing how the little things add up!
Think about retirement
I know…retirement seems so distant! But, you’ve heard the sang, “Time is money!” When it comes to saving for retirement, that phrase is even more valid. The earlier you start putting money away in a retirement account, the more time the money has to grow and compound with interest. Another thing to consider about retirement plans: did you know that the average employer will match an annual contribution of up to 3% of your salary in the company 401(k) plan? Let’s see what this means with an example. You make $40,000 a year and participate in contributing 3% of your salary to your 401(k). This means you would contribute $1,200 in your account. With the employer’s 3% match, you have $2,400! Now, this is the part that’s really important. If an employer offers a 4% match, and you contribute the entire 4%, you could have $3,200. That’s $800 more in one year, with just a 1% increase in the match amount. And, that extra cash has even more time to compound, since it’s being placed in the account earlier. Moral of the story, pay attention to small variances in retirement plans, because they can make a big impact.
Envision yourself in the company’s culture
Do you think you would be happy? Think about what you consider important for your career and your work environment, and determine if you think the company has a culture that fits your criteria. For instance, do you desire a relaxed environment with a lot of collaboration, or do you excel in a more independent and structured atmosphere? Just because the company offered you a position, does not mean that it’s necessarily the right fit for you. No one knows YOU like YOU do. So, take a little time to evaluate yourself and your work needs.