Evaluating a Job Offer & Negotiating Your Salary

There are many factors to consider when evaluating offers or considering salary negotiation.

  • Compensation
  • Benefits
  • Location
  • Type of work
  • Manager
  • Work/Life balance
  • Culture/Values of the company
  • Industry
  • Travel as part of the job
  • Opportunity for advancement
  • Global opportunities
  • Job stability

*If you get a job offer, here are some simple rules of thumb to help decide whether you should accept it.


Identify your interests, passions, and personality. What’s going to keep you inspired and getting out of bed each day for work? Find the difference between the more mechanical aspects of a job offer like salary and health benefits, and other opportunities like organizational culture, find an experienced mentor, support for graduate study, and membership with professional organizations. (Try to get away from expectations placed on you by family and friends.)


Once you get a verbal or written offer, make an appointment with a SUNY Oswego Career Coach. We can review compensation and benefits, address any concerns, and discus appropriate next steps. We can also guide you on offer etiquette—whether accepting or declining an offer.


Just because an employer didn’t pop open a bottle of expensive champagne during your job offer, it doesn’t mean that they don’t value your work. Companies have different policies they need to follow. Step back and think about the big picture: Is the company culture a good fit? Do they offer great benefits? Is there opportunity to grow?


If you aren’t sure whether to accept or reject an offer, companies are typically sensitive to giving you time to make an informed decision. If you have a month or two, for example, take that time to explore what else is out there. In the end, employers will respect the time you took in making a well-thought decision. But, remember, deadlines are set to give employers time to reach out to other candidates, so the sooner you break the news, the better for everyone.


A student came to me with a job offer in hand; he loved the company but not the actual job he was offered. In a case like this, it’s okay to talk with the employer and explain that you would love to work for them, but perhaps in a different role. Just be sure not to wait until the last minute or send an e-mail. Pick up the phone and have a candid, respectful conversation. (We can help you through these kinds of conversations.)

*Courtesy of the National Association of Colleges and Employers:


  • Do some research to find out the salary range for the kind of job you’re considering.
  • Can you live on the income you’re being offered?
  • Will you get a signing bonus?
  • Does the salary include a commission or incentives?
  • Don’t be afraid to negotiate with the employer for a higher salary.


  • Explore the company’s health insurance plan. Find out what your contribution will be.
  • Consider the range of possible benefits, including vacation and sick day policies, 401-K or pension contributions, stock options, and opportunities for telecommuting
  • Will your position be exempt or non-exempt?
  • Explore BenefitsLink.com to learn more about what to expect from your benefits.



For one-on-one advice about evaluating job offers and negotiating salaries, schedule an appointment with a career coach or stop by during Drop-In Hours.