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Evaluating job offers

Salary + Cost of Living Calculators

You got a job offer? Or maybe more than one? That's great news — now we can give you a few useful tools to help decide between offers or just to know if one you have received is in the range you should be hoping for.

Consider the following when contemplating a job offer:

  • Is the job and company a good fit for you? Will it meet your monetary requirements?
  • Is the salary competitive for the geographic region, industry and type of position?
  • What about benefits such as opportunities for advancement, professional development, paid time off, flexible working hours?
  • How competitive are positions such as this?
  • Is it the right first job to start your career?

Salary Negotiation

You should negotiate a salary when you are officially offered the position. If you are asked about salary prior to securing the job, politely sidestep the issue until you are confident they want to hire you. Explain that you are open, based upon the position and the overall compensation package. Or tell the employer you would like to know more about the responsibilities and the challenges of the job prior to discussing salary. If you are still pressed for a number, present a salary range between the averages of what research produces.

Do Your Research

Research what the position is paying in your area and adjust for the experience and skills that you bring to the position. Be prepared with specific examples of your experiences as proof you are worth more.

NACE Salary Calculator
State of Wisconsin Wage Comparison
Salary Expert:

Calculate Your Financial Expenses

Know how much money you need to live on beforehand. Calculate what you must have just to live. Consider cost of living differences if you are planning to move.

Cost of Living Calculator
Power Tools for Relocation
Sample Monthly Budget Worksheet

Use the budget worksheet to determine expenses you may need to consider.Determine a range you are comfortable with, but keep it to just a few thousand dollars and indicate your minimum acceptable salary at the bottom of the range. Weigh your expenses against details like the size of the company, their present financial situation, and how much money your skills and experiences are worth in that particular industry.


When asked point-blank about salary, counter by asking what their range is, so you know their boundaries.
Try not to sound demanding. Make suggestions but still be confident about what you are worth.
Be eager and enthusiastic, but willing to walk away if you have reached an unreasonable negotiating ceiling. Do not burn bridges, but rather politely decline the offer.
Even if you get what you want, think it over for a couple of days;you may want to ask others for their advice.
Never lie about past salary;reference checks may expose you.
Consider the value of benefits and perks in your salary expectations, such as bonuses, tuition reimbursement, health insurance, paid time off, telecommuting options, and promotion potential.

Additional resources
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