Career Day: Evaluate and negotiate job offers

The Career Center continues to provide students with information and services for finding careers, and choosing from the possibilities. They held a pre-spring Career Fair workshop Tuesday in Ballroom E for guidance on handling incoming job offers.
Lin Sherman, assistant director, presented advice on an area new to most college students: what to do once the long awaited job offers come in. She said, “The first thing you need to do is really know your stuff and what is important to you. And that will vary depending on who you are.”

After job hunting and interviewing for many positions, properly receiving offers is just as important. Sherman explained that responses should be “extremely enthusiastic and appreciative and acknowledging that you could be a very good fit for their team.”
However, that does not mean one has to accept right away. The first job offer might not be the best fit. Sherman remarked, “You want to ask them for all the details, because you are in the information gathering phase and you want to be very clear with them that you are. And that you will be looking at all the details.”

To help visualize career options, Sherman suggests setting up a spreadsheet to compare different companies. “Be sure you look at all these things and get a sense of whether it is something that makes a difference in that offer.” Aside from the salary, which can be the determining factor, Lin reminded students to consider “the location, the tasks, the culture of the company, all of those things that make a difference to you.”

In the decision making process, she also recommends looking over the company’s background. In addition to the objective factors, there are also the attitudes of potential employers to consider. Sherman wanted listeners to “go with that gut feeling you get when you sit and talk with them.”

When preparing to make the commitment, it is time to be clear about how much benefits increase negotiation is desired. While not always necessary, Sherman sees negotiation as a typical part of accepting an offer. And if it is something the job seeker feels unsure about doing, she recommended keeping in mind that, “It is not that you are being greedy, it is not that you are being unappreciative. You are just wanting to have it be a fair case for both you and them.” However, when discussing new terms, make sure they are reasonable. A good way to go in knowing a salary to ask for is to take a look at the salary range for recent CSM graduates of the same major.

Sherman advocated asking for what is wanted. She did caution, though, that there is a time to settle, before the offer is lost entirely. To gauge how far to push, she said, “Always focus on your goals, which are to get into a great position, with a team that you are going to enjoy working with every day instead [of] on just winning that argument about the contract.”

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