Graduating? What to Consider Before Accepting a Job Offer

posted Apr 14, 2011, 9:39 AM by Stephany F.   [ updated Apr 14, 2011, 9:47 AM ]
Congratulations! In an economy where grad school is a given and a full-time position is something to aspire to, you’ve landed your first big-girl job. But as an entry-level kid, there are a few things to know before accepting an offer. As excited as you might be, a job offer is just that: an offer that should be considered carefully. Although it’s tempting to accept anything and everything thrown your way, here are a few things to think about before signing your name on the dotted line:

$30,000 a year? Talk about shoes, sunglasses and a serious wardrobe upgrade. But before getting too excited, keep in mind taxes, benefits and living expenses. Now more than ever, college graduates are choosing to move back in with Mom and Dad, which is a great option. But if rent and a swanky new apartment is the direction you’re moving in, keeping in mind how much you really will be taking home each year (also known as your net salary as opposed to your gross salary, which is often the number advertised by employers.) For example, as an entry-level grad, I take home $8,000 less than my gross pay. Take some time and do some research to get an idea of what to expect in today’s economy. Then, budget out your expenses including rent, utilities and loans, since that six-month grace period won’t last forever…

Yes, insurance and benefits seem like a waste of money but you’ll be grateful when a trip to the ER is in order. When it comes to benefit packages, most employers cover 80% of the cost, while 20% of the cost is taken out of your paycheck, if you chose to do so. Vision and dental are often separate options as well, but often don’t cost as much as health insurance. Reasonably speaking, expect to pay $100 or less per month for benefits. Also, be prepared to ask questions regarding copays, prescription coverage, etc., since it will all come full circle and could potentially end up taking a chunk out of your monthly earnings.


How far away is your new job from where you’ll be living? Is there an option for public transportation? Traffic? Gas money can be another money-suck and, depending on if the city is calling your name, could be a legitimate expense or nothing to worry about. Research T or Subway trains to see if they can get you to your office and don’t forget to chronicle the time it takes to get there. Would it be feasible to take public transportation versus driving in rush hour?

PTO and Other Perks
Paid time off, also known as PTO, could mean a variety of things: personal days, sick days, vacation time, birthday day and holidays. Make sure you know how and if you accrue time off and how much. Keep in mind, if you accrue PTO and begin your job during the holiday season, be prepared to owe your company some time since most require you to use PTO for Christmas vacation, etc.

By: Michelle McNickle | Image: Source