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Benefits Make a Big Difference in Job Offers

When all is said and done and you finally receive a job offer, it's the benefits package that makes all the difference. The amount and quality of the benefits offered by a company indicate how much a company will invest in its employees. Benefits also offer you a level of security in case you suffer an injury, an accident or even in the event of your untimely death.

First decide what benefits are most important to you.

When looking for a job, one of the main considerations should be the benefits. If a company offers poor benefits it could cost you a considerable amount of money to make up for the lack in benefits. It could also leave you in a financial bind if you become disabled or if you need surgery or some other high cost benefit that the company does not cover.

If you are married and have children then family oriented benefits should weigh heavily in accepting an offer. Health insurance and retirement savings programs are important for families. If you want to continue your education to attain a degree or attend technical training, the company's educational reimbursement program should be considered. If you are single and want to earn as much as possible, stock options and bonus programs should weigh heavily when deciding to accept a position.

Overall, look at you and your family's current situation and decide what is most important to you and what benefits will provide you with the much needed, money-saving advantages to succeed at your new job and in life.

Contractor benefits vs. Permanent employee benefits

In today's new and flexible job market, contract jobs are prolific and usually allow you to earn a higher salary. However, these contract positions rarely offer decent benefits.

If you have a family and want to save for retirement, you should probably not count on sufficient benefits being provided for a contract position. Instead, you should deduct and save a portion of your salary in case you need it for medical expenses or in case your contract ends suddenly.

While permanent employment may not offer the higher wages, it usually offers sufficient benefits to cover your family, to plan for and save towards your retirement and a modicum of security in regards to longevity in your position.

Find out what benefits are offered

Once you have decided which benefits are most important and you are confident that you will get a job offer, try to discover the details of the benefit package that will accompany the job offer. Important things to consider include: when will the benefits start, is the health insurance provided by a reputable company and do your current physicians accept the insurance, is the life insurance enough to take care of your family in the event of your death, is the education reimbursement sufficient for you to continue your studies and does the bonus plan and retirement savings plan offer you enough security to plan for your future.

If you determine that the benefits, while decent, do not cover all the expenses you may incur by accepting the position, you need calculate the out of pocket expenses and deduct them from your salary. Try to calculate all of the costs you might incur to compensate in areas that are not covered by the benefit package.

What if the benefits package does not meet your needs?

You may be shocked to discover that once you deduct the costs associated with compensating for a poor benefits package, the salary is not anywhere near what you thought. If you have to make concessions for almost all of the benefits you will find that the job offer does not look so good after all.

Let these calculations weigh heavily in deciding whether to accept the job. If you will be required to spend a considerable portion of your take-home pay to cover the deficiencies in the benefits package you may want to reconsider accepting the offer.

If you decide that the offer is not going to meet your needs, remain professional and decide whether you want to counter-offer in the hopes of getting a better offer or if you want to decline. If you decide to take either route, be honest with the company and let them know why you are reluctant to accept the position. You might be surprised at the outcome. You might even get a better job offer.

- Scott Brown

Scott Brown is the author of the Job Search Handbook. As editor of the weekly newsletter on job searching, Scott has written many articles on the subject. He wrote the Job Search Handbook to provide job seekers with a complete yet easy to use guide to finding a job effectively. To download your own free copy of the Job Search Handbook visit Job Search Handbook.