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Marquette University
Career Services Center

Holthusen Hall, First Floor
1324 W. Wisconsin Avenue
P.O. Box 1881
Milwaukee, WI 53201-1881
Phone: (414) 288-7423
Fax: (414) 288-5302
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What To Expect

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Financial matters and benefits

Finance Your Education

  1. Request scholarship/fellowship/assistantship information from each school where you applied.
  2. File your Federal Income Tax Return (required before you can complete the FAFSA).
  3. Complete the FAFSA online and submit all completed scholarship application forms.
  4. Prepare for any admission/assistantship interview by scheduling a mock interview with Career Services.
  5. Attend any preview days/assistantship interview sessions/faculty interview sessions for each institution.

Negotiate an Offer

Don’t be afraid to ask for time to make up your mind. Once you have been extended an official offer, you should be given sufficient time to decide whether to accept. You should ask for your offer in writing. Never accept one offer and then later renege if a more attractive one materializes. To do this is unethical, and reflects poorly on you and Marquette University. It may sound old-fashioned, but “your word is as good as a written contract.” If you verbally tell one employer you accept a position, then change your mind and accept another, you could potentially be the target of legal action for not honoring your word. While this rarely happens in today’s challenging market, it is an important consideration in the job search.

Multiple Interviews, Multiple Offers, and Timing

Multiple Offers
While many job seekers might see this as a good problem to have, it’s a tough spot to be in. And most job seekers aren’t sure how to navigate it well. After all, can you put the first company off, and if so, for how long? What should you say to the first company in the meantime? And can you take the offer but rescind your acceptance later if the other job comes through?

The first step here is to call the company that made you the job offer. We’ll call it, Company A. Explain that you’re very interested in the job and would like some time to think it over, and ask when they need to hear back from you. Any reasonable employer will give you a bit of time — generally a few days to a week. Be aware, though, that many employers will balk at giving more time than that. A request for more than a week might signal that you’re hoping for an offer from somewhere else in the interim and may make them question your interest level.

Next, contact the other company, Company B, immediately. Don’t delay by even a day — time is crucial here. Explain to them you have an offer from another company, that you need to give them an answer quickly, and Company B is your first choice. If Company B is strongly interested in you, there’s a good chance they’ll be willing to expedite things.

However, Company B might tell you they can’t speed up their timeline. If that happens, then you have a difficult
decision to make: Are you willing to turn down Company A’s offer without any guarantee that you’d get an offer from Company B in the future? Your answer probably depends on your financial situation and how confident you feel about other prospects coming along.

But what you shouldn’t do is accept Company A’s offer with the intention of backing out of it later if Company B comes through. Company A will have turned their other candidates loose by that point, as well as invested time and money in preparing for your arrival, so reneging on your acceptance would burn that bridge to a crisp. You’d also risk damaging your reputation in your industry, because people talk and you never know when that will come back to haunt you. Assume once you accept an offer, you’ll need to keep your word.

Using an Offer as Leverage with Other Employers
If you are awaiting word of an offer from another employer in which you are very interested, write or call (depending on urgency) to say that another employer has made you an offer and before making a decision you would like to know your status. Don’t push too hard or the employer may lose interest.

Declining an Offer
Reply as soon as possible in writing. Indicate why you are declining if you can do so tactfully and constructively. You may just say you have accepted a position with another organization. It is acceptable to mention the name of the organization. End with an appropriate statement to keep the door open for some possible future contact. In other words, stay on good terms.

Salary Lessons

Salary Lesson One: Don’t Bring Up Salary Until It’s Brought Up With You
Salary negotiation is one of the final steps in the job search process. While it may be a factor in your mind, most employers would not ask you for an interview if they did not think that they could afford the “going rate” for your talents. You should not ask about salary during your initial interviews. In most cases, you should never introduce the subject. Leave discussions about money and benefits to your prospective employer; they will broach the subject with you at an appropriate time.

Salary Lesson Two: Be Ready to Name a Salary Range When Asked
Regardless of when an employer brings up salary, you will be expected to be ready to discuss it. There are a number of resources you can use to prepare for the conversation so that you are familiar with the typical salary range for the position you are seeking. You can find national averages for graduating students in specific industry sectors through quarterly salary survey reports published by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE). These reports are available in the Career Services Center. NACE also offers a salary calculator which is on our homepage.

Salary Lesson Three: Figuring Out What You Need to Live On
Upon graduation it is very important to organize your finances. You will probably be surprised how quickly your
paychecks will disappear; therefore, it is important to set a budget for yourself.

Many employers say new graduates have unrealistic salary expectations. The truth is, there are many factors that affect starting salary and you need to take those into account to bring your expectations in line with reality.

For example, geographic location and cost of living play a big part in determining salary, with salaries fluctuating among metropolitan, suburban, and rural areas. The starting salary for a sales job in a metropolitan area with a high cost of living will probably be significantly higher than the salary for the same job in an area with a low cost of living.

When designing your budget, don’t forget to …

  1. Consider the cost of living for the area to which you are relocating.
  2. Calculate expensive start-up costs. Some examples include:
    1. Rent (first month, last month, down payment,
      damage deposit)
    2. One-time installation fees for Internet, electricity, cable, gas, etc.
    3. Car purchase
    4. Insurance (car or personal, renters)
    5. Household items (everything from cleaning supplies to a shower curtain!)
    6. Furnishings/household accessories (dishes, tableware, linens, etc.)
    7. Professional wardrobe (business attire, fundamentals [socks, underwear, etc.])
    8. Utilities (air conditioning, heat, hot water, gas, electric)
    9. Transportation (parking, gas, public transportation passes, maintenance fees)
    10. Food (groceries, meals out)
    11. Electronics (TV, cable or satellite, Internet, music, cell phone and landline plans)
    12. Student loans (federal and private)
    13. Memberships and subscriptions (gym memberships or classes, magazines, newspapers)
    14. Medical expenses (prescriptions, over-the-counter medications)
    15. Insurance (auto, health, dental, property)
    16. Taxes (local, state, federal)

Salary Lesson Four: Factoring in Benefits
In factoring your total compensation, consider three things: salary, benefits package, and lifestyle. Depending on whether or not stock options or signing bonuses are included in your benefits, a full employee benefits package can add as much as 30 to 40 percent to your base salary. Many employers will offer great benefits that may well exceed your expectations: For example, some companies and organizations will subsidize or completely pay for continuing education and a graduate degree. Others share profits with their employees. General benefits you should look for include vacation and sick time, health and dental insurance, life and disability insurance, retirement contributions (i.e. 401K matching).

One-time expenses are often easier for employers to handle than an annual salary increase. For example, you might be able to negotiate for the purchase of a laptop or PDA. Moving expenses are another one-time expense for which employers may offer to provide compensation. (Note: Save all receipts as your moving expenses may be tax-deductible, including food and lodging expenses during the physical move). If you are able to have part of your move reimbursed and are asked to come up with an estimate, get several estimates from different moving companies.


Additional Information

MU Central - Financial Literacy

The NACE Salary Calculator

CNN Money - Cost of Living Calculator