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Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering | Resources for Online Students

Recently I’ve met with students needing assistance with evaluating job offers. I noticed their focus was on the salary rather than the total job offer package. If you’re contemplating a job search, it’s never too early to start researching this topic. In addition to the salary, consider the total compensation package, which includes:

Salary range

Do you know what the salary range is for your position? A good place to start your research is Glassdoor or The salary range includes minimum, median and maximum. Be sure to do your homework in advance so you avoid giving a salary range or accepted a salary below what you’re worth.

Cost of living

The cost of living varies across the United States. You can check Cost of Living Comparison or Cost of Living Calculator, which will give cost comparisons between two cities. Your salary range should accommodate basic living expenses (e.g., housing, food, utilities, transportation, health care, etc.).


Benefits are a form of non-wage compensation or nice-to-have additions. Besides health care, they can include vacation, tuition reimbursement, maternity/paternity leave, workplace wellness programs, complimentary coffee and lunches, telecommuting, and more.

Relocation expenses

If you are looking at jobs in different cities or states, moving can be both expensive and time consuming. In an effort to minimize stress, many companies will offer to pay for some or all of your expenses.

Sign-on bonus

A sign-on bonus is money paid to a new employee by an organization as an extra incentive to join them. Be sure to understand the terms of the signing bonus. You may receive the check only after you’ve been there a certain length of time. If you leave before a certain date (possibly months or a year away), some companies require that you re-pay the bonus.

Yearly bonus

A yearly bonus is a reward paid to an employee at the end of the year. Many of them depend on the overall performance of the company and of the individual employee.

You can find additional information on this topic on the salary negotiation page of the Career Center website.


Betty Boza is a career development specialist for the Fulton Schools Career Center. Her primary responsibility is assisting online, graduate and doctoral students with all aspects of career development including résumé preparation, professional network expansion, effective job search strategies and mock interviews.