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Choosing an Offer: Tips for Making the Best Choice

Choosing a job offer can be a momentous event in a college student's life. Researching prospective employers, reflecting on your priorities and reviewing your options can help you choose the best career path.

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Before deciding to accept a job offer, you should make sure you have a strong sense of the company and what the job entails, as well as how well the job can support your personal and financial goals. If you simply cannot decide, you may want to ask for an extension.

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Evaluating Job Offers

If you're one of the lucky job seekers who have multiple job offers, you may not be feeling so lucky when it's time to make a decision. Choosing between jobs can be the most difficult part of the job hunting process. However gaining knowledge about the company, comparing your own priorities with those of the company and evaluating your options can help with your decision.

Learn About the Company

You may have already done a bit of research on the company before your interview. Job seekers should try to gain as much experience in the field as they can, and that they should research information about the company they are applying to. You should make sure to know enough about the job, the organization and the offer details so you can weigh one offer against another one. There are a variety of ways to learn about a company, including:

  • Visiting company websites
  • Talking to current company employees
  • Contacting the representative who conducted your interview
  • Talking to the company's human resources representative

Research General Job Information

In some cases, job applicants may be considering several entirely different jobs - not just the same job at a different companies. If this is the case, you may want to use the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) website, which can provide a wealth of information about what to expect from particular careers. Some of the topics covered in school profiles include:

  • Job duties
  • Work environment information
  • Expected pay
  • Job outlook
  • Professional certification options
  • Advancement options

Reflect On Your Priorities

Make a list of what you're looking for in a company, a job and a career. Organizing your priorities on paper usually helps you visualize the upcoming years at your first job. After you make this list, see how each offer is able to satisfy your needs and desires. Here are the two main questions you may want to ask to help you generate a list of priorities:

  • What are your professional goals?
  • What will make you happy?

Consider Employment Packages

It is important to consider the wages and benefits offered by each employer. Prospective employees should carefully evaluate the salary or hourly wages being offered by the company, as well as the benefit offerings, such as health and dental insurance. Also, they should make sure that the time commitment (full-time or part-time) coincides with their availability.

Ask for An Extension

Many companies ask you to make a decision about an offer within a week. However, offers are often considered contingent, meaning it's dependent upon your specific conditions. Consider asking companies for extensions, especially if you're not going to graduate in the upcoming weeks. Asking for an extension gives you time to carefully evaluate the offer as well as negotiate the terms of the offer. When you ask for an extension, make sure it's reasonable. You don't want to make the company think you're trying to take advantage of their generosity.

There are many factors to consider when deciding whether to accept a job offer, including the nature of the work, the compensation that the company is offering and their personal goals for the future.

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