Wrapped GiftsIt’s said “good things come in small packages.” But some of the best and most important things come on a piece of paper . . . an offer letter.

What should be in your executive compensation package? Of course there are the three B’s: Base, Bonus and Benefits. But there’s so much more to a package than that. The following are ten items to look for in your next compensation package:

1. Base salary. Before starting your job search determine what kind of base salary you would like to make in this next move. In addition to making your wish list, do some market research to see if your expectations are reasonable.

2. Commission (if applicable). If you’re working on commission, make sure you have a firm grasp on how the company’s commission structure works and whether you can achieve your personal earning goals under the company’s system.

3. Bonuses. Know what the company’s bonus structure is and what’s expected of you to earn your bonuses. Remember to ask about a signing bonus. They’re not quite as common as they used to be, but in some circumstances they can be a beneficial part of a negotiation.

4. Equity. Nothing enhances an organization’s overall performance like its players having some skin in the game. See if you can negotiate an equity stake like stock options, stock grants or maybe a profit sharing arrangement.

5. Benefits. With healthcare such a volatile issue these days, it’s more important than ever to take a look at the health insurance package a company offers. Additionally, does the company’s plan include life and disability insurance? Is there a retirement plan and if so, does the company make contributions to the plan?

6. Vacation. Chances are you’re far enough along in your career that you’ve surpassed the standard two weeks of annual vacation. Be sure to negotiate to retain your hard earned time off.

7. Relocation. If there’s a relocation required, be sure that the company is covering the costs and that you’ll have no out of pocket expenses.

8. Severance. Find out if the company has a severance policy in place and what it entails. This can be a difficult topic to discuss at this stage of the game, after all, you’re just talking about starting down the road together. But, as we all know, there are no guarantees in life so find out what happens in the event of you part ways.

9. Duties and reporting structure. Having this spelled out from the onset avoids confusion down the road.

10. Start date. It may seem obvious, but you do want to make sure you and your future company are on the same page as to when you begin working for them.

This list is meant to be a basic starting point as you consider your offers, there may be other items and perks that you’d like to consider as well. Remember, the offer is used as the basis for your employment agreement and sometimes, with the signature of the parties involved, can become the actual agreement itself. Unlike some packages you may receive this holiday season, this package is a gift that keeps on giving, make sure it’s the package you want it to be.