By Kirsten Petriches
You created the perfect resume and cover letter, impressed everyone with your amazing interviewing skills, and sent the perfect thank-you to each and every person that interviewed you. You’ve been waiting, likely impatiently, for that life-changing job offer. The phone rings, you answer, and there it is – the job offer you have been waiting for. Congratulations! Now what?
Don’t just automatically accept!
I get it, of course it’s exciting to have a job offer. The opportunity to pay your bills, carry your own health insurance, wear fancy clothes to work, and fill your new leather pad folio with your very own business cards is amazing. But, before you accept the job offer, make sure you think through the opportunity and ask the right questions, especially if you are deciding between more than one job offer!
Now that you have a signed job offer and a start date, it’s time to get prepared!
Learn about the benefits that are offered at your organization. Be prepared to ask during the interview and offer process as that’s when the majority of this information should be discussed.
Retirement Accounts (401K, Roth IRA, etc.): One of the most important things to learn is whether or not your company has a retirement match program. Often, an organization will agree to match up to a certain amount if you contribute to your retirement. If this is the case, always, always, ALWAYS, opt in. It’s free money! Even if there isn’t a match, I strongly encourage everyone to contribute some amount to their retirement. The earlier you start saving for retirement, the more you will earn over time. Plus, you are creating a good habit of saving and, trust me, you won’t miss the money if it’s taken out of your paycheck automatically!
Health Benefits: Are you eligible for the employer’s health care benefits? If so, what do they offer? How much does it cost? What do you actually need? When do you become eligible?
Paid-Time-Off: Do they offer PTO? Do you get it all at once or do you have to accrue it over time? Do they have a sell-back program in which you can “sell” your unused PTO time at the end of each year? Are you paid for holidays when the office is closed? If so, which ones? Can you “borrow” time from yourself if you have a really great opportunity to travel but are a few days short on available PTO?
So, how do you prepare for your first day?
Decide what to wear: Hopefully you paid attention to how people were dressed during your interview process, but if not, there is still hope!
Figure out when to arrive and leave: Arrive early and, most importantly, don’t you dare be late!
Introduce yourself: Of course it’s important to be professional at work, but it’s also important to be approachable and friendly. You will learn that relationships within the office can be very, very, important, therefore proper navigation is key.
Office Décor: No matter how excited you are, don’t walk in on your first day with three boxes full of stuff to hang up in your office. First off, you likely won’t even know what your office space looks like. Second, you just really don’t want to be “that person.” Wait until later in the week and slowly integrate some décor, photos, and treats for the whole office to munch on if you want.
Eating: Wait, food is amazing, how could it ever be a stressor? It's not really, but...
Other MISC, but important, tidbits:
If you take anything away from this post, know that the most important thing you can do is take a deep breath. You were hired for this job for a reason. Ask yourself: what is your biggest fear? If it's about making mistakes, I'm here to tell you: you will undoubtedly make mistakes. But take comfort in knowing that everybody else in your office has also made their fair share of mistakes. That's the beauty of being human, isn't it? Ultimately, as long as you try your best, are nice to and work well with others (yes, even that person that you don't particularly like), and learn from the mistakes you, you will do just fine. Go get 'em!