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Receiving a formal offer letter after you’ve interviewed for a job is usually a cause to celebrate. It often signifies the end of your job search and the beginning of gainful employment. On the other hand, you need to look closely at an offer letter when you receive one. Here’s what you should be looking for when you receive an offer letter for a new job.

Your Base Salary

Any offer letter that you receive should include a base salary that reflects what was discussed during your interview. If there are any discrepancies or if the language is unclear, immediately ask for clarification. This might be an awkward conversation that could get your job offer rescinded, but you should be paid a fair salary for your skills even if that means continuing your job search a little while longer.

You Should Receive a Definitive Start Date and Time

An offer letter should also include a definite start date and time for your new position. Like your salary, it should reflect what was discussed during your interview. You’ll likely need some time to fulfill prior commitments or give notice to your current employer, something you should have considered when you discussed your start date. If the start date in your letter doesn’t reflect what you discussed, ask for clarification and negotiate with the employer.

Your Job Responsibilities Should Match

You likely interviewed for a specific position with responsibilities that reflect your strengths and skills. When you receive your offer letter, make sure that the job responsibilities mentioned reflect what was discussed. You don’t want to be stuck doing a job that you don’t want or can’t do.

Other things to Consider

Other things to consider in your offer letter include a description of benefits, a non-compete clause, and a non-disclosure clause. Not all offer letters will contain all of this information, but they are worth your consideration when you do see them. Non-disclosure agreements or NDAs are fairly common in offer letters. They basically say that you’re not allowed to discuss sensitive company information. They’re normally in place so competitors can’t use any information you might repeat against the company. On the other hand, companies have used NDAs to force their employees to be silent about everything related to the company, including abusive and illegal business tactics. Non-compete clauses are similar in that they’re intended to prevent competition from learning trade secrets. They usually prevent employees from working for the competition for six months to two years after their employment has ended. Depending on what you do and where else you can find employment, this could cause serious problems if you find yourself out of work.