College Connect: Decisions, decisions, decisions: How to pick among multiple job offers

By Carolyn Heger

The recruiting season for many majors is in full swing this month, with company recruiters visiting college campuses to encourage seniors to apply for their jobs. There is a significant amount of stress involved in networking with representatives from different firms, submitting job applications and interviewing for various positions. However, your level of anxiety might increase even higher if you receive full-time offers from several employers and are stuck on how to choose among them.

If you are fortunate to be in the situation of having more than one offer to choose from, you might wonder what criteria you should use when evaluating which to accept. Initially, you might be tempted to focus solely on salary, but pay is only one aspect of a job to consider.

Lucy Hodel, a trained career specialist at the MU Career Center, has helped counsel University of Missouri students when they are experiencing difficulty with selecting from multiple job offers.

“A big factor I’ve seen students consider is location, whether they want to be close to home or far away,” Hodel said. “We also have students think about what the cost of living is in the locations of their different offers so that they are well aware of how far their salary might go in those areas.”

Hodel said that a company’s benefits package, including sick days, vacation time and health insurance, are crucial to contemplate as well.

“Benefits are a complex but important packet, especially with the health care system changing,” she said. “People will put more weight on different things when it comes to benefits; for example, do you want more paid-time-off so that you can pursue activities outside of work, too?”

A company’s values and environment stand as another vital point to evaluate when looking at multiple job offers, Hodel said.

“We have students ask themselves, ‘Will I fit in with the culture of the company or the team?’” she said. “Some employers encourage their employees to have a work-life balance, while others expect longer working hours and more extensive concentration on work.”

Even though these elements are all essential to take into account, Hodel said that the final decision with which job offer to accept is a personal choice that should not be too heavily influenced by other people.

“Some people will value things differently,” she said. “It all comes down to what the individual wants.”

Carolyn Heger is a senior majoring in business and journalism at the University of Missouri.

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