First came the interview, next came the offer!

Job Offer

So your phone rings and the person on the line gives you the big news that you’ve been waiting for…you’ve received your first job offer!  Very exciting.  A few days later, you receive a thick envelope from your potential employer and there is SO MUCH INFORMATION to evaluate.  And it’s kind of overwhelming.  Let’s break down the components of an offer package, starting with the basics…

The first item in your package will be the actual offer letter.  The offer letter outlines basic information, such as your position title and location, expected start date, conditions of employment (completing a satisfactory background check, passing a drug screening, holding a valid driver’s license, etc.) and salary. Most likely, the first thing your eyes search for is the salary figure.  In your offer letter, your salary may be stated as an annual, monthly or hourly figure. But there’s so much more to know.  Here are some other things you should understand, which may or may not be clearly outlined in your offer letter:

  • Is the company offering a one-time signing or relocation bonus?
  • What is the timing of salary adjustments? For example, will you be evaluated annually in January and eligible for a raise at that time?
  • Are you eligible for an annual bonus? If so, this may be stated as a dollar range (i.e. $3,000 – $5,000), or as a percentage range of salary (i.e. 5% – 10% of your base salary).  What is the bonus based on – individual performance, divisional performance, firm-wide performance, a combination?
  • Are you eligible for overtime pay if you work more than a specified number of hours per week? If so, what is your overtime rate – time and a half?
  • Are you eligible to earn commission? This is most common in sales roles.  If so, ask the employer to provide the details of the commission plan, and make sure you understand it.

Next week we’ll dive into benefits…


By MaryEllen Ryan
MaryEllen Ryan Senior Associate Director, Undergraduate Career Development, Pulsifer Career Development Center MaryEllen Ryan