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What are the top 4 things you need to review in a job contract?

When you get a job offer, it's very tempting to let your enthusiasm carry you away. You may be inclined to sign on the dotted line without much thought when they offer you a contract.

Don't do it. Before you sign a job contract, there are four key things you need to review (at a minimum):

1. What's the job description?

You don't want a vague description of your duties to leave you exposed. An employer can take advantage of that vagueness and saddle you with more work than you expected -- and then blame you for not being able to handle the job.

2. What's the termination point?

Does your contract renew yearly more-or-less automatically, or is there a specific process you have to go through each year? When can you walk away from the job if you want? What grounds can your employer use to terminate you? Knowing all of this is key to your financial security.

3. What compensation will you receive?

Many companies offer much more than a base salary to their valued employees. You need to understand everything you're due to receive, however, to protect your interests. What bonuses can be paid? What do you have to do in order to qualify for one? When will they be paid? Vague promises aren't really worth much, so make sure that you have details.

4. What kinds of restrictive covenants are there?

Companies are eager to protect their own share of the market, so it's not unusual for a contract to include non-solicitation agreements, confidentially clauses and the like. Make sure that you're comfortable with the terms you're accepting -- and that you fully understand them.

If you're hesitant about an employment contract you're about to sign, speak to an experienced attorney about your options. You may be able to negotiate better terms.

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