A key part of the job search is knowing how and when to accept a job offer. You submitted your refreshed resume, you filled out the application, you aced the interview and now you’re waiting on that elusive offer! You get a call and it’s a number you know. It’s from your would-be employer, and suddenly, you’re unsure of what to do. If you’ve received a recent job offer, here’s a look at how to proceed.

What Does It Mean?

After interviewing, an offer letter informs you that you are being offered the job. Offers are often now done verbally before you receive anything in writing so don’t worry if you receive a call with the offer information before you get an email or letter in the mail. The offer often includes information about the salary, benefits and other pertinent information. 

Now What?

You can either accept, decline, or negotiate the terms of your job offer. This is a fairly simple process—if you like with what is being offered, sign the letter (or reply to the email). Sending it back serves as an official acceptance of the job, congratulations! If you are not okay with the terms being offered, then you have to choose whether you want to ask for what you want or decline the offer. In situations like these, it can be a little difficult to know what you’re willing to settle for and what you think should fight for based on your worth and experience.

Be sure to seriously calculate what you think you should be receiving, and also take into account how long it would take you to get to your goal if you end up accepting a pay cut in the beginning. Ideally, these things should be figured out before the interview process, but now is as good a time as any if you haven’t taken the time just yet. The decision is up to you, your family, and your sanity. Don’t rush, before you sign decide exactly what you want.

What if the Position Changes After I Accept?

Unfortunately, some companies, many times unknowingly, offer things they cannot afford or can’t grant. Most times this isn’t due to bad intent on the part of the organization. In fast-moving companies, things change weekly if not daily. So, what do you do if your offer letter isn’t honored after you’ve already quit your previous job? 

In most cases, an offer letter is not an actual contract—but you may still feel that you have been misled. It is a sticky situation. So before you accept the job offer and quit your job, research the company to try to make sure everything is on the up-and-up. Whether or not you have a family depending on you, you owe it to yourself to make sure you’ve done the proper research to make sure they’re a company you would be happy to work for and that they treat their employees well. However, it can be a leap of faith either way.

As you continue the job search and interview process, you’re sure to receive an offer letter sometime soon. Fortunately, you now know more about the process, and this information will help you navigate moving up in the job market. If you’re still in the job search process and you’re struggling, check out our resources and tools. We can help you to mitigate your stress, understand your worth, and set good goals for yourself.

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