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Consider Offers and Make an Impact at Your Internship or Full-time Job

Considering an Offer of Employment

Evaluating a job offer is more than just taking the job with the best salary. There are many factors to consider in the process:

  • Take time to consider the offer: We recommend that employers give you two weeks to consider an offer. If they give you less than two weeks, you may negotiate for more time. Offers may be contingent on reference/background checks, drug tests, degree completion, and GPA.
  • Request the offer in writing: While the offer may be extended verbally, the written offer may contain important details to help you make an informed decision.
  • Evaluate the salary and benefits: Research the going rate for similar jobs, including location, job duties and industry. Benefits can include insurance, vacation/holidays, retirement options, health clubs, and child care. Employee benefits can comprise up to 40 percent of your total compensation package.
  • Observe the office environment and company culture: Every office has a different feel to it. Some offices are casual and others are formal. Find the best fit for you. Consider how you align with the shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices of the company you’re considering.
  • Consider negotiable areas: Extensive research will enrich your discussions with the employer when considering topics such as salary, benefits, start date, pre-scheduled travels, relocation, and more.
  • Act Ethically: When considering an offer, employers expect you to act ethically in your interactions. This pertains to presenting your qualifications truthfully and honoring your commitments. It’s not OK to back out once you have accepted an offer if another offer comes along soon after. This is called reneging and is against Career Exploration and Success offer/acceptance policies. If you renege, you may be subject to sanctions including being banned from the Rutgers Handshake system, and all employment related services, including on campus interviews. If you are uncertain about accepting an internship or full-time job offer, speak with a career advisor in Career Exploration and Success.

For assistance in evaluating an offer: Contact Career Exploration and Success at 848-445-6127 (Busch Campus) or 848-932-7997 (College Avenue Campus) to meet with a career advisor. Please indicate that you have received an offer when you call, so that we can schedule a meeting as soon as possible if timing is critical. Bring your offer correspondence with you to the appointment.

Make an Impact

Making an impact in your internship or first full-time position comes down to simply understanding and following work-place etiquette. Work-place etiquette is nothing more than the behavior and manners that are acceptable at your work site. The tricky part is that each place-of-work is different and the rules are different from the rules that apply to you as a student. People don’t expect you to be a student. They expect you to act the way they do, as a professional in their line of work. If you don’t figure out the rules, you may have a poor experience and a poor evaluation. Here are a few guidelines and ideas to help you get on track:

  1. Dress the part.
    Yes, this is important! When you walk in the door of your work site, even if it is on campus, you are no longer a student. Appropriate attire is different for every organization. Look around you. What are others wearing? What about their hairstyles? What kind of accessories are the norm? Model your dress and grooming after that of your supervisor and other professional staff.
  2. Follow the chain of command.
    It is important for you to know the formal and informal reporting structures within your organization. Once you understand them, follow them! The unspoken rule is this: do not go around, behind, or over anyone. Follow the chain of command in all your communications and actions. That means go to your supervisor first. Also, identify the second in command or the person you can go to in your supervisor’s absence.
  3. Respect confidentiality.
    You can talk about issues, projects, and the work environment, but refrain from talking about people. Gossip can get back to people and wind up hurting you. Don’t be hurt if you are left out of certain discussions—some issues are for staff eyes and ears only. Finally, don’t take sides; steer clear of interoffice politics. Remember that you are there to work on your projects.

  4. Respect the support staff.
    They have been there longer than you, and they know more than you. They can be terrific allies in helping you get accustomed to the work environment, helping you understand the unspoken rules, and helping you accomplish your goals if you treat them with the respect they are due. Remember this: without support staff, the organization would not run.

  5. Learn basic social skills.
    This might seem rather silly, but if no one ever taught you such rituals, you are well advised to learn them quickly! Go to the library and read some etiquette books, or pattern your behavior after those around you. How you handle hellos, goodbyes, and basic courtesies of speech and action can win friends or turn people off. For example, don’t sit down in someone’s office until you are invited to do so.

  6. Be on time.
    As a student, some faculty members may not penalize you if you fly into class five minutes late or if you miss class. In the work world, that just won’t cut it. Tardiness and absenteeism signal disrespect for others’ time and a lack of interest in the work. Promptness signals eagerness, responsibility, and respect for others. At the beginning of the day and at all your meetings, be on time or five minutes early. The only reasons that may justify an absence from work are serious illnesses or family emergencies. It is important to call immediately and speak directly with your supervisor if you have a problem which will keep you from work.

  7. Learn to make a positive first impression.
    Practice until you acquire a firm handshake. Learn how to make introductions and how to introduce yourself to those you don’t know. Be friendly, smile, and extend yourself. These are all parts of important first impressions.

  8. Take initiative.
    Offer to help on projects and assist others in the office without being asked to do so.

  9. Turn off the cellphone and don’t open Facebook.
    Your employer expects you to work during the work day, not conduct personal business or be distracted by texting friends or checking social media. These things can be done during lunchtime or other breaks, but don’t jeopardize your position because you couldn’t wait until after work to text your friends about dinner plans.

  10. Be a good ambassador.
    Be aware that you reflect the institution. How you perform and behave at work will establish your professional image, for better or worse, and also, the future of other Rutgers interns or full-time candidates. Think about the long-term benefits of good work place etiquette. You might want to ask your previous supervisors for job recommendations or contacts. You may apply for full-time or summer jobs at a previous work site. Have you proven that you can make it in that type of environment? Have you earned a positive recommendation? What you do today can stick with you for a long time. Make it count!

*Adapted from Muhlenberg College and Seattle University

Establishing Your Professional Reputation

Establishing your professional reputation is an important part of making an impact at your internship or first full-time position. The Rutgers Student Code of Conduct (studentconduct.rutgers.edu) outlines standards for students to follow as members of the university community. These standards are not unique to an academic setting, but can be applied to all professional settings including the workplace. Having a reputation as an ethical professional is vital in making an impact and being a respected employee or intern.

Conducting yourself ethically in all aspects of your professional life includes being ethical in your interactions and engagement with departments on campus including Career Exploration and Success as well as faculty, staff, and your peers. Representing yourself with honesty and integrity is also important in your interactions with employers. When you connect with employers and others outside the university, you represent Rutgers. Career Exploration and Success has established policies and ethical guidelines regarding scheduling appointments and registering for events, participating in the On-Campus Interview Program (OCI), participating in the Rutgers Internship and Co-op Program (RICP), and job and internship offer acceptance guidelines.  

For detailed information regarding Career Exploration and Success policies go to careers.rutgers.edu.