The closer and closer we get to graduation the harder people are pushing to find a job. If you happen to be in the position to receive an offer letter… what do you look for, what questions do you ask… what do you do?
Just because you got an internship does not mean that now is a time to not apply for jobs. Even if your employer has talked about keeping you on, do not stop looking for jobs/internships. Worst case you end up with two (or more) interested parties, upping your worth and control of starting salary.
OK so your employer has started talking about keeping you on, now what? Personally, I recommend against being too interested or too open to the idea. It’s hard to not sound excited when someone is talking about offering you your first job, but play it cool. If you are too eager they can just low-ball you. And you wouldn’t want that.
If you have an interview elsewhere, and the timing is relevant, tell your employer. This will likely result in speeding up the process and or increasing the gauge of your worth to your employer.
OK say things work out and you are presented with an offer letter. Now what? Still stay calm. Do not accept the offer letter while you are in the moment. Many employers expect you to look over the offer and benefits, etc. An easy way to gracefully bow out of signing anything in the moment is to say something to the effect of “I would like to take a day or two to process.” Obviously the time frame might vary, and you should ask if the time frame works for them, but overall it’s a good way to have more time to think. There are certain items that you need to have a solid idea about after receiving an offer letter:
1. Heath, Dental and Vision insurance. Does the company offer these? Do they expect you to cover part of the cost for insurance out of your paycheck? If you have more health problems do they offer a tier one and tier two health care?
2. Stocks, if it’s a public company. Do you start out with some or do you have to buy them, etc.
3. Vacation Time. Working is important but so is paid vacation. Work hard play hard, and sometimes life happens.
4. Do they offer a retirement plan? Will they match up to a certain percentage of your salary that you save?
5. What holidays does the company close for. If you celebrate Christmas and have a family half the size of mine you know you need a lot of time off to see everyone.
6. Ask how frequent reviews are (good reviews equal raises this is usually annual).
7. If the company is located in a new city, ask about a relocation stipend. (Make sure this gets in your offer letter.)
8. Make sure you understand CLEARLY what your responsibilities will be.
9. Make sure the salary offer is enough to support you. There is no harm in tastefully asking for more money.
10. Go over the fine print with a mentor or parent. They have done this before and know what to look for.
11. Make sure all of this is in your offer letter. Remember, if it isn’t in writing… get it in writing.
Here are some tips to evaluate a job offer. What are tips you have prior to accepting an offer letter?