Congratulations! All of the hard work you have put into your job search has paid off and you have received a job offer – or better yet, multiple job offers. Before you accept an offer and begin your career, there are a few important items to consider. While the starting salary in the job offer tends to get the most attention, don’t overlook the benefits package being offered by the employer.
The exact benefits package included with your job offer will tend to vary from employer to employer, but there are a few “typical” categories of benefits that should be carefully reviewed:
Most employers still offer employees a range of insurance coverages. These may include medical, dental, vision, life, and disability insurance plans. It is important to carefully review these plans, to inform yourself about the costs associated with each plan, and to ask some detailed questions. This includes:
- What is your cost for the insurance plans?
- What are the annual deductibles and your co-payments to use each insurance offering?
- When do the insurance benefits begin? Are you eligible to receive benefits right away or is there a waiting period?
- You should also educate yourself about items that the insurance plans may not cover
Retirement Savings and Investments
It is never too early to think about setting some money aside for retirement. Some employers will offer you options for retirement savings or even investment opportunities, including:
- 401(k) – If your employer offers a 401(k) plan, ask if the program includes an employer match to the contributions you make.
- Profit Sharing Plans
- Stock Options
- Pension Plans
Vacation and Sick Time
The amount of vacation and sick time allotted to employees will vary from employer to employer. Traditional plans will range from 2-4 weeks of vacation per year and one week of sick time. Some employers may even offer employees an allotment of personal days to use on an annual basis.
Additional Employer Perks
Even in today’s job market, some employers are enhancing their “traditional” benefit plans with additional employee perks. These perks may include:
- Relocation Assistance
- Gym Memberships
- Tuition Reimbursement
- Employee Assistance Programs
- Child Care
As you begin to receive and evaluate your job offers, there are many items to consider. A great deal of your attention will undoubtedly be focused on the actual job you will be doing, the company you will be working for, and of course the salary that you will be paid.
While thinking about employee benefit plans may not be the most exciting or the most glamorous topic, these are crucial elements to helping you choose the right opportunity to launch your career. Be thorough and review every detail of the employer benefits plans that are being presented to you.
If you have questions about any element of the benefits package, make sure that you seek clarification from a human resources representative at the employer.
As important as salary is, having an understanding of the “total compensation” (including benefits and perks) that is being offered to you will help you make a more informed decision about your job offer.
Photo by Jon Ross.