Receiving an offer for an internship or job can be an overwhelming decision, particularly for a college student or recent graduate looking to start their career off on the right foot. Luckily, your student can talk with other professionals (such as yourself) who can lend a hand in making these tough choices.

What are the most important factors to consider when evaluating internship and job offers?

The organization

Your child should research the background of the company through news mentions, financial reports and consumer reviews to determine if this organization is one they’ll like to work for. Here are a few things to keep in mind while looking into the company:

  • Company culture. Is the corporate culture a good fit for him or her? What does the company value? Does the mission align with their goals? Who will they be working with on a daily basis? What is their management style like?
  • Office environment. Is the company workplace the right fit for your student’s needs? Do they work best in a traditional office setting, or from home?
  • Size. How large is the organization? Is there room to move up in the department or at the company? Is the company located in other states or countries?
  • Type. Is the company well established? A startup? Small business? How will the type of company affect job security and promotions in the future?
  • Financial condition. How is the company doing in today’s tough economy? Have there been significant layoffs or downsizing in the past? How will this affect your student’s future at the organization?

The job

Your student’s day-to-day tasks and interactions will certainly determine how much they’ll enjoy their job, too — now and in the future. When they’re looking at the job description, they should pay attention to the following:

  • Goals. What is the candidate expected to achieve or improve in their first months on the job? Can your student deliver on those goals?
  • Location. Does the position require a long commute? What travel expenses will go along with the job?
  • Hours. What hours are they expected to work? Does the pay equate with the amount of hours expected?
  • Travel. How much time should your child expect to be on the road? Do they have responsibilities at home that will limit the ideal amount of travel time for work?
  • Salary/benefits/perks. Is the salary offered enough for cost of living? Does it equate with their experience, education and skills? Are there other perks, such as flex time or paid time off, that outweigh low salary or less than stellar benefits?

Other circumstances

Personal circumstances should also be a significant factor in choosing a job or internship. If something doesn’t sit right about an opportunity, make sure your child knows that they don’t have to take it. It’s better – for both the employer and the job seeker – that a job candidate declines a job offer rather than starting a job and quitting soon thereafter. If it helps, have them make a list of pros and cons to determine the best decision for their career.

What else should students and recent graduates consider before accepting a job offer?

Author:

Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for organizations with products that target job seekers and/or employers. She is also the author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships: The Truth About Getting from Classroom to Cubicle (2011), #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010), and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets.

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