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Career Kickstart 5: Negotiating Offers and Financial Literacy

The concluding session of the School of Public Health’s Career Kickstart workshop series was one huge wakeup call. The session focused on the steps to take after your resume, cover letter, interviews, and everything else have led to a job offer. It’s natural to jump at the first position offered, but without proper research and financial literacy to negotiate and evaluate the offer, it might not be as perfect as it seems. I was completely naïve about all that goes into accepting a job offer in the “grown-up” world, and this workshop was the reality check that I didn’t know I needed.


The session began with a discussion about cost of living; when choosing a job, a key factor is determining if the proposed salary is enough to support a life in the job’s location. For instance, a $35,000 salary in Bloomington only goes so far after taxes and student loans come calling. An identical lifestyle in New York City takes almost $90,000. With this perspective, a $50,000 yearly salary could mean living the dream in one city or the slums in another – everything is relative and prices of living essentials can surprise you.


This is where good negotiating skills come into play. Once offered a position, the terms and conditions set by employers might be adjusted if the situation is handled appropriately. It is important to have evidence backing up any proposed changes – employers won’t respond to demands for a pay raise simply because you, “Want more money.” Keep the conversation professional, polite, and practical. Employers can rescind a job offer at any time, so strike a good balance between being firm and overreaching. Also, remember that different benefits will be up for negotiation at different jobs; be sure to confirm what you can negotiate before asking for changes.


Even though the last Career Kickstart meeting had me shocked, excited, overwhelmed, and scared all in the course of two hours, it was incredibly helpful. I now have to the knowledge to make a decision with confidence. Like all of the other Kickstart sessions, I feel more prepared than ever to jump into the professional world. If you didn’t get a chance to attend all or any of this semester’s Career Kickstart workshops, I strongly encourage you to go next semester when the series will start from the beginning. You can even combine the sessions you did attend this semester with sessions next semester to reach that 4 out of 5 session goal which qualifies you for the exclusive recognition and networking event.

For those of you who made to at least four of the workshops this semester, I look forward to seeing you in December for the exclusive networking event and reception. It promises to be a great opportunity to both celebrate our dedication to our career development and connect with some great professionals and alumni in the Public Health field.


sean“Sean MacLennan is a junior in the fitness specialist degree program with a minor in nutrition. She is the event and social media correspondent for IU Kinesiology Club, a UTA for the P215 physiology labs, and a monitor at the Briscoe Fitness and Wellness Center. She hopes to one day own her own wellness center to help people live full, happy, and healthy lives.”


Categories: Career Advice Events

IUSPH Career Services

Job opportunities for Indiana University School of Public Health-Bloomington majors are diverse and expanding as the emphasis on living a healthy lifestyle grows around the world. Career Services experts in each of our academic departments will provide one-on-one counseling and career building opportunities throughout your academic career, from choosing the right major to developing a strategy to find a job. They can assist you with:

•career counseling
•job placement
•volunteer opportunities
•resume and cover letter preparation
•interview skills
•graduate school preparation

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