Career Advice for Job Seekers

What benefits should job seekers always expect, no matter what?

Ryan Wood
Sean Kelly (Guest Author)
August 23, 2021

For many employees, benefits can make or break a job opportunity. That’s not to say that benefits should always be deal breakers, but it really is a case-by-case situation overall. However, there are certain benefits that should be a priority for most employees, and some that should factor heavily into your decision to take a job if they aren’t offered.

Health insurance is a must for any job that is set up to provide benefits, and dental and vision absolutely factor into that. If a job offers some benefits but doesn’t provide a basic healthcare package in their offer, it might be worth looking around at other options. Make sure you ask about health insurance when inquiring about a job because it will save you a lot of time and energy if you’re prioritizing these benefits in your search.

If health insurance isn’t offered along with a job but you’re in a position where you really can’t say no to something that comes your way, it might be worth looking at the marketplace to see what rates are for health insurance regardless of whether a job opportunity provides it. But ultimately, health insurance is a basic benefit that you should always ensure is offered along with a job before you entertain it. In the long run, it will save you money and a headache.

Beyond health insurance, there are great benefits that have become standard in the job market and should be on your priority list. Something like a 401K plan might not always seem like a necessity, but if you’re always thinking long-term and remain future-oriented in both your career and your life, having a retirement fund goes a long way in ensuring that you can meet your goals and one day be able to live comfortably without working long hours at an older age. 

Stock options are also becoming more and more common for employees, especially as companies are starting to realize the importance of putting a value on—and investing in—their employees rather than looking at them as workers who help them turn a profit. There’s no better way to attract a great employee than to signal to them that they’re valued. This increases productivity and decreases turnover tremendously. 

Aside from these generally common benefits, there are some others that certain companies are beginning to offer that can be life-changing for employees and help employers find the absolute best talent possible. Student loan repayment plans and tuition reimbursement are two benefits that would undoubtedly change most employees’ lives, and if you get a job opportunity that offers this as a benefit, there’s almost no reason not to take it. Even if the salary offer might not be quite as high as you’d prefer, benefits like student loan repayment can completely outweigh any salary requirements and give you much more flexibility.  

For expectant parents, some employers have begun offering new baby funds, which are accounts set up by your employer that hold a set amount of money to help bring your child into the world. These are the kinds of benefits that go a long way (as does generous parental leave) in signaling to employees that their lives, and a healthy work-life balance, are important to their employer. After all, the pandemic has made families closer and 71% of parents admit they will miss having extra time with their children as the world returns to “normal” post-pandemic. Even if you don’t plan on starting a family any time soon, these benefits might become relevant throughout your career. 

At the end of the day, figuring out what benefits are most important to you in a job search requires doing some research, making compromises when necessary, and deciding what your needs are as an employee. Your value doesn’t lie solely in the amount of money you get every payday, it also lies in the investment a company is willing to make in you as a human being to give you the best chance at flourishing in your career and ultimately your life outside of the office. 

— Article by Sean Kelly, an analyst researching the latest industry trends for College Recruiter

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