Evaluating and Negotiating a Job Offer

Congratulations! You’ve done a ton of hard work, you got the job, and now you have a job offer! Your next and possibly final task is to read the job offer carefully and to consider how it aligns with your values and long-term career goals. Please note that all of the items below do not apply to all job offers and remember also that the potential employer can withdraw an offer if your terms are out of bounds or unsustainable for the organization. As you carefully read your offer remember most of all that you should consider the entire offer—not just the salary.

Be sure to get everything in writing. You cannot evaluate an offer if you do not have the offer in writing. Verbal understandings and promises are not binding; without written proof you cannot verify the specifics of what you were verbally offered. Never agree to anything without seeing it in writing.

If you need help determining your wants, needs, and how your offer compares, use our Evaluation and Negotiation Table

What's Below: 


Main Elements to Consider in Your Offer:

Healthcare Coverage

  • What type of coverage do they offer? Is there a monthly co-pay?

Professional development

  • Do they offer an annual financial contribution to your professional development such as conference attendance, professional membership, or funding for certifications and training?

Education benefits

  • Do they offer tuition reimbursement or financial assistance for your family members or children?

Flexible Work Schedules/Telecommute

  • Do they offer the possibility of flexible work schedules or the chance to work from home?

Paid Time Off

  • Do they offer maternity/paternity leave? How do they calculate sick vs. vacation days, days the organization is closed, and paid time off? Can you collect time off or do you have to use it?

Retirement Contribution

  • What types of retirement plans do they offer? What is their minimum and maximum contribution? What does the company match, if anything, and what is their contribution?

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Other Considerations:

Your Base Salary

Relocation, Commute, and Parking

  • What will it cost to get to work on a daily basis? If you are relocating, what is the cost of living difference and the cost of moving? Visit the following calculators for help determining these costs:
  • Cost of Living Calculator
  • Daily Commute Calculator

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What Can I Negotiate?

  • Before you negotiate, remember that negotiating can be risky. The manner in which you negotiate is just as important as what you are choosing to negotiate. Remember to be clear and specific about your needs. If you have no intention of taking the position, do not negotiate.

You can negotiate the following terms of your offer:

  1. Travel reimbursement or relocation, housing and/or travel funding to find housing
  2. Your start date
  3. Your salary
  4. The option to work from home or have flextime
  5. Your stock options
  6. Your signing or annual bonus
  7. Your professional development opportunities.
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Guidance on How To Negotiate

  • First, use our table or do some reflection on your own about what’s really important to you and if it’s worth negotiating your offer. If you do decide to negotiate, have an action plan before you negotiate with an employer about what you want and what you’re willing to accept.
  • Try not to fixate on one element; be flexible. If the employer cannot negotiate on your salary, negotiate other benefits that are important to you.
  • Just as when you received your initial offer, any changes to your offer need to be made in writing.
  • As you negotiate, remember that the manner in which you negotiate is just as important as what you’re negotiating. Maintain your composure and use professional language throughout your negotiation. You should try to practice negotiation with a friend or have a trusted friend or colleague read through your correspondence if you are communicating via e-mail. An employer can withdraw their offer at any time if you step out of bounds or surpass what they can afford to offer you. Likewise, if you cannot come to a mutual agreement you can also reject the offer.
  • Do not feel pressured to accept an offer if the package does not reflect your value and meet your needs.

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*This information has been adapted from UCLA's Career Preparation Toolkit (2016-2018)


Want to talk with someone confidentially about your job application process? Make an appointment with one of our Career Counselors today!