There’s nothing like that huge relief when the call from human resources says “You’ve got the job!” After the long application and interview process, you finally feel a sense of accomplishment and you’re ready to just shout, “Yes! I’ll take it!”

But don’t leap at a job just because you have it. An offer is great news, but there’s a lot to consider in a job offer package. At the top of your list is probably the hours you’ll work and how much you’ll get paid for those hours. Salary is, after all, a motivating factor in many job searches and job transitions.

But a job is a package. You’ll be paid a certain amount, but you’ll also get lots of add ons – benefits – that vary greatly from one job to the next.

Before you say yes, consider these job benefits and if they meet your needs. And if you get an offer that falls short on benefits you want, consider negotiating for what’s most important to you.

1. Health Insurance

Health insurance is huge for most employees. Find out exactly what is included in the health insurance you are offered. How much is the premium? Which doctors can you see? What is your deductible? What is the co payment for office visits, emergency room visits, and inpatient and outpatient stays? Does the coverage include any prescription plan? If so, are your medications covered?

2. Health Assistance or Savings

Does the company offer any kind of flexible spending account plan so you can set aside money to be used for healthcare?

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3. Dental Insurance

How much is the premium? What kinds of care will the plan cover? If the plan covers routine preventative care like cleanings and xrays, how many is each family member entitled to? Does the plan cover any orthodontic care?

4. Vacation Days

Now frequently just lumped into a “paid days off” group, how many days does that include and will it be enough for you? Three weeks of paid time off sounds great, but if you or a family member you care for has a chronic illness that causes you to miss work more than a couple of times a year, three weeks can easily be consumed. Are you allowed to take unpaid time off?

5. Retirement Benefits

Does the package include any kind of retirement benefits like a 401k plan?

6. Volunteer Hours

If you are an avid volunteer, a company that offers paid time off to volunteer in an organization or a local school might be very attractive to you.

7. Education Plan and Career Development

If you are on track to get a higher degree or are thinking of going back to school, does the company reimburse you for partial or full tuition? Can you take classes that offer professional development or career tips?

8. Company Culture

No, the company culture isn’t listed on a benefits package form, but the company culture makes two similar organizations vastly different. If you like to socialize with your colleagues and find a sense of camaraderie essential to your professional happiness, an organization with company outings, softball teams, or volunteer groups might be worth looking into.

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Don’t just take a job based on your paycheck. A good career move offers more than just money in the bank. Your benefits package is as important as your salary and can sometimes add thousands of dollars in value. And if you are close to accepting a job but really want more paid time off, for instance, see if you can negotiate. You might get what you want.

Julia Quinn-Szcesuil
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