Selecting your first job can be one of the most important decisions you’ll make in your twenties. After all, where you land will shape your entire future trajectory. When you decide where to start your career, it’s crucial to weigh all of your options fairly. Don’t just pick a company because your friend works there or because they have iced coffee on tap.
If you’re like most recent college grads, then you probably have a pretty good idea of which companies in your industry are good options. Still, choosing the most well-known firm in your field isn’t the only option, and it certainly isn’t always the best idea. Unsure where to start? Here are five important considerations you should make when you choose your first job.
Type of Work Environment
Be honest with yourself about what would fulfill you in the workplace and what wouldn’t. Although a trendy startup culture with no desks or assigned roles sounds nice, it may not be the right fit for everyone. For a lot of people, those attributes can be more confusing and stressful than a traditional workplace would be, whereas others thrive in an unstructured environment. Decide what you need in your future workplace, then see which prospects meet those needs.
Future Career Opportunity
One of the worst work situations is feeling like you’re ready for the next step in your career, but discovering that the company doesn’t have any spots available at the level you want. If a company is small or has operated with the same management for decades, it might be difficult to advance in your career. However, a small but growing company could provide you with opportunities that you wouldn’t be able to find anywhere else. It’s important to know what you’re getting into with the job you’re considering. Look for companies that frequently promote employees. If an employer doesn’t make the lists, evaluate them against the well-known ones to get a sense of how they compare in terms of culture and opportunity.
Hours and Flexibility
Some jobs require that you work a lot. This works well for exceptionally driven, career-focused individuals. It’s essential that you know just how much work you’re in for, regardless of the type of person you are. Ask the hiring manager what the typical hours are, or speak with other employees about it. Make sure that their expectations will match up with your preferred lifestyle. After all, work-life balance matters.
Money shouldn’t determine which job you take, but it would be naive to say that it isn’t an important consideration in choosing the right position for you. After all, we’ve all got bills to pay. Do your research on where your industry pays the best and what the going rate is your specific role. Make sure that the jobs you’re considering will earn you the salary that you need to survive (or ideally, to live comfortably).
The Boss and Team
They say that people leave managers, not companies. This obviously generalized statement definitely holds some truth, though. The quality of a manager can make or break your job experience. Ideally, you want to stay at your first job for a couple of years, so make sure to do thorough research on your superiors. Reach out to current employees, and talk to the manager as much as you can before accepting an offer.
Choosing a job is never easy, and there’s no perfect formula to ensure that you find your dream position. All you can do is consider every company carefully and make as much of an informed decision as you possibly can. And hey, you’re going to have a paying job at the end of the process, so that’s very cool.