Principal Financial Group

April 23, 2007 15:30 ET

Sixth "Nu @ the U" from the Principal Financial Group Offers Advice on What to Look for in a Job Offer, Beyond Salary

DES MOINES, IOWA--(Collegiate Presswire - April 23, 2007) - Dear Nu,

I just got job offers from two different companies. The jobs are pretty much the same, but one company is offering a little higher salary than the other. Do I just pick the job with the better salary?

Signed,

Undecided

Dear Undecided,

Congrats on the job offers! Now, as they say, welcome to the real world--the world where health care is expensive, where you have to save for your own retirement and where you get to learn about oh-so-exciting phrases like "comprehensive benefits package."

Benefits are the combination of bonuses, onsite amenities and other goodies your employer offers. It's all about looking at the big picture.

Think of it this way. Deciding on a job offer based on salary alone is like choosing an apartment based on rent alone. There's obviously a lot more to it. Does the rent include any utilities? Will you have to pay for parking? Is it close to mass transit? Will you have to scare away the cockroaches every time you turn on the lights in the kitchen?

When you're comparing total compensation, look at things like:

-- Health insurance. How much will you pay for it? Do you have a choice of plans from which to choose?

-- Retirement plans. Do they offer a 401(k)? If so, how much is the employer matching contribution? (The employer match is basically free money for you.) What about a pension plan?

-- Dental and vision insurance. Keeping those pearly whites in good shape costs more money than you'd think. That makes dental insurance more than just a nice-to-have. Also, consider your eyesight. The cost of glasses can also take a bit out of your budget.

-- Vacation days. Definitely compare vacation time, and make sure you understand how it's calculated. (Do you get a specific number of days right off the bat? Or do you accrue a certain amount of time per pay period? What paid holidays are offered?)

-- Bonuses. Does the company offer any annual bonuses? If so, about how much could you expect your first few years on the job?

-- Work perks. Work perks can help you save money and time. Good perks include fitness centers, tuition reimbursement, wellness programs, training and development offerings, etc.

You just passed Benefits101. Best of luck with whichever job you choose--and keep an eye out for those cockroaches.

Nu Huynh is a Campus Relations Manager at the Principal Financial Group. She travels the country looking for the best and brightest recruits. To find the career or internship you're looking for, visit www.principal.com/careers/visits.htm.

Nu @ the U" is written and distributed by the Principal Financial Group. The character "Undecided" and the above question are fictitious. For more information, please contact Rhonda Clark-Leyda, Corporate Relations, 515-247-6634, clarkleyda.rhonda@principal.com.

About Nu @ the U

"Nu @ the U" is an advice column written for young professionals navigating the unknown waters of internship and career. The workplace column addresses the most timely and common questions received by the national college recruiting staff of the Principal Financial Group.

Columns are written by Nu Huynh, campus relations manager at The Principal® and made available bi-weekly, Jan. - May 2007 via Collegiate Presswire (http://www.collegiatepresswire.com). The column debuted on Jan. 24, 2007.

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