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Before you sign your graduate job offer, check these details

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Congratulations, you've got your graduate job offer! Before you sign your contract, take a moment to check these details.

Congratulations! You made it! After countless days, weeks or months, interviews and tests, you’ve finally got your graduate job offer. Now what? Before you sign, be sure to check these details in your contract.

Your contract of employment

Before entering into a contract of employment and accepting your first position, you should seek clarification on the following:

  1. Start date.
  2. Duties and/or job description.
  3. The number of hours you will be required to work (keep in mind you may be told that you have to work nine to five, plus any further hours as required to meet your clients’ expectations and demands of the job. In the private sector, it is possible that you will spend at least ten hours a day in the office in order to meet the requirements of the role).
  4. Rate of pay and method of pay (weekly/monthly).
  5. Whether the salary offer is a package (i.e. base and superannuation combined) or a base salary plus superannuation.
  6. When and if you will be entitled to a salary increase (particularly if you are paid junior rates).
  7. Any leave entitlements including parental and long service leave.
  8. Whether you will be employed on a permanent, part-time, temporary or casual basis.
  9. When you can expect to receive a written contract of employment.
  10. Confirmation of all employment conditions in writing (including your next salary review date).
  11. Which Enterprise Agreement or Award you will be working under if any.
  12. The termination notice requirements of both parties.

Before signing your first contract read it carefully, making sure that you don’t sign anything you don’t understand. There’s no need to feel pressured into signing a contract on the spot. Tell your potential employer that you want to take the contract home to review it. If you don’t agree with a certain clause in a contract, you can rule a line through the provision that you don’t agree with and place your initials in the margin.

Your salary

Salaries will vary substantially between large and small organisations and between specialisations. More generous salaries are likely to be associated with larger firms or certain specialisations. For example, those working in investment banking may be required to work long hours. As a result, they can generally demand higher salaries as compensation.

Superannuation

As a general rule, you are entitled to a minimum of 9.5 per cent superannuation paid into a fund of your choice. However, if you are employed as an independent contractor or on a contract for services you will not be automatically entitled to superannuation.

If you have previous superannuation policies but are unsure of the name or policy number, contact the Australian Taxation Office Superannuation Line on 131 020.

If you have had previous casual and part-time positions, it is likely that you have several superannuation funds.

To consolidate your accounts, obtain and complete a rollover form from your current superannuation fund of choice. Rolling over your superannuation will:

  • Minimise the risk of you losing your superannuation
  • Minimise administration fees you are likely to be charged
  • Help you keep track of your superannuation as it is all in the one place
  • Minimise the statements you will receive.

Congratulations! What an achievement… don’t forget to celebrate!