Three Aspects of a Job Offer Letter That May Be More Important Than Salary

— Aug 14, 2014 —

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The excitement of obtaining a job offer letter can be either overwhelming or underwhelming depending on what the contents of the letter are. Nevertheless, salary is not the only important part of a job offer letter that should be considered. Here are three other parts of a job offer letter that aren’t always spelled out and may be more important than salary.

Commute Time

Walking, biking, carpooling, driving or taking public transportation are just a few of the many methods of commuting to work each day. No matter what your mode of transportation is, commute time and method are important factors that have an impact on—but are rarely included in—a job offer letter. Take a job that requires you to drive 50 miles each way every day, for instance. This commute would add an additional 45 minutes travel time, twice per day, most likely during rush hour. Consider not only the cost of fuel, but also the stress this could add to your week. Alternatively, if a position is within walking distance of your home, there is an underlying benefit to the job that is not reflected in salary; not only would the commute time be significantly shorter, but there is virtually no additional cost of getting to and from work, and, perhaps most importantly, each day starts and ends with some physical activity—a health benefit not offered by many employers!

Job Title vs Career Opportunity

Although the expression goes, don’t judge a book by its cover, the hard truth is that hiring managers will always look to your previous job titles and make assumptions about your role, responsibilities, and rank within a company. That being said, job titles are different in every company, and in every industry and hiring managers are aware of this fact. Pay attention to, but do not focus on the job title in a job offer letter. The focus should be on actual responsibilities, learning opportunities and career development. It is entirely reasonable to get a “demotion” in your job title, depending on the circumstances; for example, going for Executive Assistant at a school to an Administrative Assistant at a Private Equity firm can be an amazing chance to increase your long-term earning potential and learning opportunity. Of course, if everything in a new job offer letter stays the same—even salary—but the title is “bigger,” that could be a plus, but keep in mind, titles are very subjective to the situation. When reading your letter, consider the career opportunity more.

Your Peers

Aristotle once said, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts,” and he could not have been more correct. When you are hired by a company to perform a task, you are not a standalone employee, no matter what your role is. You are part of a team of individuals with unique experiences, perspectives, personalities and talents that both individually and collectively contribute to the success of an institution.  Take note of who works with you, who reports to you, and who you report to. The people who surround you in your day-to-day activities contribute to your experience within an organization; they (the parts) make up the overall attitude, work ethic, and ideology of an organization (the whole). While the biggest piece may be the organization, it would not be what it is without its employees. Your peers are an invaluable asset. Take advantage of their knowledge when you’re in a new role.

Although salary may seem like the most important aspect of a job offer, there are many other factors to take into consideration.  Other than those mentioned above, consider benefits such as a vacation package or a 401K, discounts on products or services, and other PTO carefully before accepting new employment.

What part of a job offer letter is most important to you?

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