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Benefits Packages - Salary is not the only thing! (Part I)

When evaluating a job offer it is important to consider the total compensation package in addition to the starting salary. If you are weighing the relative merits of more than one offer, really drilling down to the fine print of your benefits package can make the difference between accepting one offer over another. Also be sure to take into account the bonus structure for the position and how often you will be eligible for a pay raise.

Here are some basic elements of a standard benefits package...

Medical Insurance - Find out the details of the coverage, what your out-of-pocket costs will be both up front - i.e. What are they taking out of your paycheck and how often and what your costs will be each time you need to use the plan (for example, office visit co-pays and deductibles). Other key points to compare are when the date … 

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How do I answer when an employer asks me what my salary requirements are?

First of all, you may have desires or expectations (realistic expectations, I hope), but you don't have salary requirements. How do you know if your expectations are realistic? Before you start interviewing or even applying for jobs, you should do your homework - visit the ECS homepage and click on "salaries & statistics" to see up-to-date figures. You can also visit ECS in person and ask to see national survey data in the quarterly NACE survey of reported salaries for graduating students across the country. (For copyright reasons, we can't publish this, but we're happy to share data with you.)

So - how do you answer? Whenever possible, try to avoid giving a specific number. They may have thought they would need to offer you a higher salary than the number you threw out without thinking first, but if you ask for less, they'll probably give it … 

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Receiving Constructive Feedback

No one likes to hear criticism, especially when it relates to interview performance. People generally like to hear about things that they do well; however, there is value in hearing about weaknesses too. Being told how marvelous you are in an interview, while it might boost the ego, doesn't offer any opportunity to become better. Hearing about improvement areas, however, gives you the chance to take your skills to the next level.

It is not enough to simply hear about those weaknesses-you must ACTIVELY listen to those suggestions and work to change those behaviors in order to reach your full potential. The following are guidelines for how to receive feedback in a way that will not only demonstrate your professionalism, but also help you to make the most out of that information:

  • First, don't be afraid to seek out feedback on your performance. When you're on the job, ASK FOR … 
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Getting Your Feet Wet

This entry features ECS graduate advisor, Dan Lamone, who is also pursuing his masters degree in chemical engineering at OSU...

Aside from those long-ago lackadaisical summer breaks, think back to the last time you weren't in school. You were likely gearing up for the alphabet in preschool. In a few short years, you'll be graduating and making the transition to a full-time career after spending some 18+ years in school.

It will be an exciting time! However, understanding the differences between academia and the working world requires experience. For example, you can read up on swimming for months and even take a class from Michael Phelps, but swimming will be a foreign concept until you actually take a dip in the pool.

Internship and co-op experiences provide invaluable insight, both positive and negative, about your career choices, major(s), and fields of interest. You may discover during your internship that consumer … 

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Bringing Your Interviews to a Positive Conclusion

The interview's almost over. You're confident that you've successfully answered the behavioral questions with complete STARs. You've been able to talk about the strengths and interests you have that match the job.

You've asked several questions that demonstrate that you have read about the company and have thought about the job and employer.

Then the employer glances at the clock and says, "Well, I see our time is almost up. Do you have any more questions for me?"

How do you end your interview on a positive note?


  1. Don't just say "No," even if you can't think of any more questions!

  2. Don't ask how you did in the interview. You're not likely to get a candid answer anyway, so why put your interviewer on the spot?

  3. Don't ask about salary, vacation, or any benefits. Wait until you actually have an offer to evaluate.






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