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Receiving Offers

When an employer extends an offer to you, it is appropriate to request time to think it over. Because accepting a new job is a major decision, you must first consider all the aspects involved.

Taking Time to Decide

When you receive a job offer, take the time you need to consider it before making a decision. Most employers will view your request for additional time to decide about an offer in a positive light and respect your wish to make a careful choice.

Some questions to consider:

  • How does this position help me meet my career goals?
  • Does this position fulfill most of my personal and job-related criteria? If it only meets some, are those the most important ones? Can I give up the ones it does not fulfill?
  • How will I develop and grow within the position and the organization?
  • Are the organization’s values compatible with mine?
  • Are there opportunities for advancement?
  • Can I live on the salary and benefits? If not, can I negotiate?
  • Have I considered my future co-workers, the work environment, management style, and other factors that are important to me?
  • Does this job sound like something I would really enjoy doing? Would I look forward to getting up in the morning to go to work every day?
  • Is this really my decision? Am I making a decision based on my family, friends, or faculty’s opinions?
  • Do I know enough about the position and organization to make an informed decision? Do I need to ask the employer for additional information?
  • What other incentives are offered with the position? (e.g. moving expenses, expense accounts, etc.)

Answering these questions will help you get started on your decision. You may also find that Vault reviews from employees who work for an organization can be helpful information to factor in.

You may want to get help from faculty, family, friends, or career counselors when weighing the pros and cons of the job offer. Avoid taking advice from anyone without thinking critically about the advice you are given. You are ultimately the person who must live with your decision.

Salary Information

The following websites can help you evaluate a salary offer:

If you receive a salary offerthat is acceptable, your next step is to ask about the rest of the compensation package.

It is important to have complete information to make an informed decision. You should receive information about the salary and benefits package, including health insurance; pension plan options; and holiday, vacation, and sick day policies before you make your final decision.

Evaluating Offers

How do you evaluate job offers and choose the best one for you? Before you sign a contract for your first job out of college, it’s best to consider other factors in addition to the salary offer. Other considerations often contribute to a better choice for your first job. The following considerations will help you evaluate multiple job offers.

When evaluating the initial offer, try not to evaluate the position against the perfect job offer. Instead, evaluate it against the next best alternative. While salary is certainly an important element of a job offer, it is not the only thing to consider. The value of an offer includes all of the benefits and other perks provided to you as an employee. Therefore, try not to look exclusively at salary as the measure of acceptability.

Benefits Packages

Benefits include basic insurance coverage as well as many additional perks offering true tangible gains in relation to the competition. Here are some basic elements of benefit plans to consider:

  • Insurance (medical, dental, vision, life, disability, etc.)
  • Leave (vacation, holidays, sick days, personal days)
  • Retirement or pension plans
  • Employer contributions to supplemental retirement or other accounts
  • Profit sharing or stock options
  • Tuition reimbursement
  • Maternity or paternity leave
  • Overtime or flex time
  • Commuting or parking reimbursement
  • Moving expenses
  • Sales commissions or bonuses
  • Training programs

Need assistance weighing your options? You can schedule an appointment with a CAP career counselor online, or schedule an appointment by calling us at 540-568-6555.

Negotiating Offers

Negotiating a job offer can be intimidating. What do you say? How do you say it? How do you express your enthusiasm for a position, yet set firm boundaries regarding the salary and the benefits you desire?

If you are officially offered a job, the first thing you need to decide is whether or not the offer is acceptable to you in its present form. If this is the best you can negotiate, would you still accept the offer?

If you feel the offer is unacceptable to you, you must determine what will make it acceptable.

Generally, the only time to negotiate is after you have been offered the job. You are not in a position to negotiate salary or any other conditions until you have a firm offer.

Most companies have a fairly tight salary range for entry level positions. To establish the acceptable range for the position, review salary surveys to determine the average salary offered to graduates with your major and degree level in the industry.

When discussing the salary with a potential employer, bring up the average salary range for professionals in your field based on your research. A range is often more comfortable to discuss, because it allows you and the employer more flexibility.

You can consult salary websites for ranges by employer type, industry, and geographic location. CAP Career Counselors can also help you research and determine appropriate salary ranges for various occupations.

For more assistance with wording your negotiation, explore some of these additional resources:

Letters to Accept or Decline Offers

After you've heard from an employer with an offer, it's important to think about your decision and respond professionally.

As soon as you make a decision to accept an offer, write an acceptance letter restating the terms of condition and your starting date. If the organization requests additional information from you, include it in your acceptance letter.

If you choose to decline an offer, you should write a positive letter to decline. Thank the organization for their interest, and state your reasons for declining the offer.

It's also important to communicate professionally when you are no longer interested in a position and wish to withdraw, or have heard that you were not chosen for a position.


Thank You Letters

One of the most effective ways to stand out from other job candidates is to thank people who do the following:

  • Help you with your job search
  • Interview you
  • Review your application material, although you are withdrawing your application from consideration
  • Extend you an offer, whether you turn it down or accept it
  • Do not extend an offer, but have worked with you through the selection process

Thoughtful people make lasting impressions. Letters help you to be remembered in a positive manner and keep doors open for future opportunities.

A thank you letter should be written within two days of your interview and should highlight your discussion with the interviewer and restate your qualifications and interest. Letters should be short and concise. A mailed thank you note is the most professional. However, since many recruiters and employers travel extensively, an emailed thank you note is acceptable.


Sample Thank You Letter

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