How to Choose Your First Job after College

Are you a fresh graduate and ready to embark on the journey of job hunting? In this post, we shall discuss what to keep in mind during your job hunt and what can you expect from and what will be expected from you in your first job. Read on to know more..

Updated by Zubin Thomas on 8th April 2020

You've graduated college — congratulations! Now you are ready to enter the professional world and start building your career with your first job out of college. The prospect can be very exciting and at the same time more than a little intimidating. It’s hard to resist taking the first offer you get and start making money, especially when all your friends have already started their career path.

You should be able to stay cool-headed and understand what exactly you are looking for and your expectations from your dream job. Otherwise, you risk ending up with a job you will hate.

What Should You Ensure?

It’s not easy to have a clear picture of your future and imagine what you will do in a few years but do your best to decide on the direction as a minimum. The first job is a crucial step in your career after college .So you have to make sure that the offer has the opportunity to gain knowledge and skills.

Do your research. Learn industry trends, consider all options and decide where all you might find those positions for you.

Develop your own criteria for a good helps to evaluate and filter accordingly:

  •         Content                        

  •         Salary

  •         Responsibility

  •         Location

  •         Training opportunities

  •         Growth potential

  •         Company culture

  •         Ethics

 So decide how they are to you and check if the employer matches those criteria.

Job and Career

Decide what exactly you’re looking for –a job or a career.

You should be clear about your role and the career path before taking any job offer. You have to understand what exactly you will be doing. For that, ask the recruiter for the opportunity to speak with recent employees in similar positions and set up informational interviews with professionals within the company of your interest. Ask how they spend a day in office, what is most stressful about their job, how much time they spend on routine tasks, what skills are most critical to have there etc.

People and Culture

One of the common traps to avoid when choosing a career is the salary trap. You want to choose big money as soon as possible to return your college investment, but it’s not the only detail to concentrate on during an interview.

Your first job after college is to learn hard and soft skills. So it's important to pay attention to the people you will be working with. Like it or not, you’ll become like them while you work in their company, so choose wisely. Evaluate the leadership style of your prospective boss. Try to check the office and decide on their environment and culture and if it suits you well.

You already know the type of atmosphere that encourages you best: solo or teamwork, quiet or noisy, open space or private office .Consider all these details when choosing a workplace.

Make sure you ask the right questions that give you insights rather than general information on duties and salary. The more you ask, the more you know.

What To Expect And Are Expected?

Communication Skills

The ability to communicate clearly and effectively is an essential part of most businesses. As an applicant, your LinkedIn bio, other social media, and especially your cover letter should be interesting and clearly get your message across shows how well you communicate.

You Won't Get Paid a Lot

Think carefully before you accept a job offer. Most employers do not negotiate or give raises after three or six months anymore. It's about where this first job out of college can take you. Do you know what you want to be doing in five years? As they want to know that you have a plan.

You Won’t Get the “Fun” Tasks

You chose your field of study with certain jobs in mind. However, those jobs are probably at the higher end of the pay scale. For your first job out of college, you will find yourself doing things that may seem beneath you.

 There are a few reasons for this. First, as an entry-level employee, you're at the lower end of the pay scale, therefore the lower-end tasks go to you. Secondly, you’re being tested.

Take care of your assignments and check if there is a better way to do them. When you show that you can handle these little jobs, and handle them well, you'll earn the opportunity to get bigger and better assignments.

Embrace Variety

By engaging yourself fully in a variety of jobs, you will give yourself a chance to discover what you really like to do. Maybe what you thought you'd like isn't what you do best.

In any case, you'll want to work to the best of your ability at this first job. Even if you find out what you don't like doing that can help you guide your career.

You’re Attitude Matters

Once you enter the workforce, there's a lot more to it. It's not just what you do and how well it's done — it's how you do it. Always be engaged and enthusiastic. If you believe you're being treated unfairly or need a change of scenery, you need to speak up for yourself. Get your thoughts together and have a detailed argument for your points. A good boss respects an employee who is willing to speak up when they have a legitimate complaint.

You Have More to Worry About Than Just Self

Once you join a company in your first job out of college, there's more to it. It's not just about you. The choices you make can affect those in your department or even across the whole company.

Sick days are a great example of this. They're willing to pay you not to come to work when you don't feel good. How cool is that? However, You have to think about what will happen at work if you do call in sick. You’re part of a team now, and while it's okay to use sick days when you're really sick, you have to be aware of how your choices affect the rest of your team. This same thinking needs to go into every work decision that you make. Your employer needs to know that they can depend on you.

Learn All You Can

Just because you've finished college doesn't mean that you're done learning. If you're smart, you're just beginning. First jobs out of college come with their challenges: the pay is not great, you may not love every task assigned to you, and everything that you do will be judged.

Learn to accept the challenge. Think of it as a one-year boot camp to gain entry into the career of your dreams. Excel at it every day. Do exceptional work the fastest way. You'll be comfortable, happy, and in charge of your own destiny again.

 Your dream job will find you by all means. Don’t hurry up to take the first available offer, consider your goals and prospective professional development, pay attention to the overall atmosphere in your future workspace and don’t be afraid to ask questions during interviews. Remember, the first job after college may influence your future career path drastically. So, do your best to succeed from the start.