Hegi Family Career Development Center

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Salary & Offer Acceptance


Whether it means everything or is a means to get by, somewhere in the middle there is a balance. Because, as much as we want you to find a career in which the money doesn’t matter, we’d be kidding ourselves if money didn’t play a big role in your career choices. You’ve got a lot to think about: cost of living in your city of choice, average salaries for your major, bills, loans, and the lifestyle you want to live. What is your bottom line?


The data is out, and there is a lot of it. After you’ve decided what your ideal industry and job looks like, make sure it pays what it needs to pay. Visit our Library’s website to research and get tips on negotiating salaries.

Keep in mind that different jobs may offer significantly different compensation packages. For example, a position may pay more than others in a field, but the work require long hours and challenging conditions. Keep your expectations in line with your qualifications, and your intended field.

So you have an offer?

Congratulations! We are sure you have taken a lot of time and energy to get here. But, you still have more work to do. Accepting an offer is a big step, and you have much to consider before signing on the dotted line.

  • Fit: Will you be happy going to work every day?
  • Salary: Does the pay meet your lifestyle needs?
  • Benefits: Does the company offer benefits that you value?

Multiple Offers?

Having multiple offers, or waiting for other offers, can be tricky. How do you make the decision, or give yourself time to make the right one?

First, employers realize that you will be considering other options. Some will be more flexible than others. Companies participating in on-campus interviews generally have strict deadlines for applications, interviews, and acceptance of their offers. Even so, you can always ask for a little additional time.

Whether the employer has a strict acceptance deadline or not, be aware of the costs of asking for more time: the cost to you and the cost to the employer. By asking an employer to wait for an answer from you, you hinder their opportunity to fill the position quickly and hinder another applicant’s ability to receive their offer should you decline. Ask only for the amount of time you need to make your decision. Furthermore, realize that holding on to offers adds stress to yourself. Hold on to as few offers as possible, keeping the best and declining the rest. This will increase the respect and rapport you have with employers, and may help you for the future. Once you are ready to say yes or no, do so. It’s best for everyone.


Negotiation isn’t something people often enjoy. In fact, salary.com reports that 41% of people don’t negotiate their salary. Often, people will regret this decision or oversight. So, how do you negotiate effectively?


Some companies will ask what salary YOU would accept. Be careful. You might ask for too much and put them off, or ask for too little and hinder your ability to get more. If a company asks this question as part of an application, try to skip it if it is not required, or give a range of options. Remember, your priority is getting the best outcome for you. Giving a number anchors the negotiation and hinders your ability to negotiate later.

The time to mention salary is after you have been given an initial offer. In most cases, it is not appropriate to ask about salary before an offer, especially in an interview. At the point of an offer, the employer has given you their ideal number. Sometimes this number is flexible, and sometimes it is not. If the employer’s offer matches your expectations, accept. If there is room for improvement, it is time to negotiate and the ball is in your court. Now that you are ready to negotiate, realize what you have to offer. You might be worth more because of:

  • Your education
  • Your previous experience
  • Cost of Living in the city
  • Previous pay
  • Other offers and options


You are worth more than just a salary. Companies generally have an entire array of benefits. While these are not always negotiable, it never hurts to ask about:

  • Medical and Dental Coverage
  • Educational Opportunities
  • Vacation, Personal & Sick Leave
  • Retirement / 401k
  • Advancement Opportunities
  • Review Processes & Raises
  • Relocation Reimbursement
  • Signing bonus & performance bonus
  • Profit sharing or stock options

Resources to help you negotiate

2016 NACE Salary Statistics:

* http://www.naceweb.org/uploadedFiles/Content/static-assets/downloads/executive-summary/2016-january-salary-survey-executive-summary.pdf