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Handling Job Offers

Your hard work has paid off and you've been offered a job. Find out how to handle your job offer.

Receiving a job offer

Any job can provide valuable experience. However, you might want to evaluate whether your job offer is right for you.

You might want to consider:

  • how the role might fit in with your longer term career plans
  • opportunities for progression
  • whether the salary and conditions are suitable
  • the opportunities for training

Job Offers and Working Life – covers everything from understanding employment contracts to negotiating a higher salary.

Receiving the offer

If you're offered a job verbally, it's vital that you get a written offer before starting work.

A written offer should contain:

  • the date of offer
  • your new job title
  • your start date
  • your starting salary
  • hours of work and holiday entitlement
  • period of notice required to end the contract
  • details of any probationary period

Negotiating salaries

Sometimes employers state that your salary is negotiable. They may ask you to open the discussion.

A realistic opening request can either be a specific sum or a range in which you expect your salary to fall. Research the starting salaries for similar posts. Begin by looking at job adverts or asking contacts who work in similar areas.

Researching salaries

You can also complete the Discover your Earning Potential Pathway on MyCareer. As part of the Pathway, you can access The Pay Index, an online tool where you can find out:

  • what salary you could earn with your degree
  • how much your pay will be after deductions
  • how your salary varies across different roles, industries, and locations

Accepting an offer

If you are confident that the role on offer is right for you, then don't delay in accepting.

It is common to accept an offer verbally (over the telephone, for example) and then follow it up in writing. Be aware that accepting an offer over the phone is a legally binding verbal contract.

You should receive a contract of employment before starting work or on your first day in your new role. A good contract will lay out your employment rights and responsibilities and duties. Both you and your employer should sign it. Always keep a copy for your records.

Unsure about the job?

You may have applied for other jobs that you want more than the one on offer. You can ask the employer for more time to consider your options.

To do this you should contact the organisation offering the job straight away. Thank them for their offer and ask for extra time. Up to two weeks is an acceptable amount of time to request to consider an offer. This is according to the Institute of Student Employers.

It may not be possible for an employer to give you more time. In this case you need to decide based on the information you have. This might mean accepting a job that is not your first choice. You should never accept an offer if you don't intend to start work with the company.

Declining an offer

If you decide to decline an offer you should do so as soon as possible. Remember to thank the employer for the opportunity. Always try to maintain a good relationship with the employers involved. You never know when you might encounter them in the future.