Be Picky About Your First Job

Oct 30th, 2013
Be Picky About Your First Job

Why You Should Be Picky About Your First Job

Your first job out of college is really more than just a job. It is the start of your professional career. It is important that you seek out all the options available and choose the job that will be best for you. But how do you know which job is right when sometimes it seems like there are so many options or, even worse, no options at all?

For job hunters, there are two schools of thought. The first is that you do everything you can to find a job. You call in all your favors, send your resume out to every company you’re interested in, and apply everywhere possible. Or you can be picky from the start and only apply to those jobs that you really want. Obviously, the first group will likely receive more interviews and possibly more job offers but always be searching for something better. The latter group will receive less offers and will be more likely to jump at one that they love. No matter which group you fall in to, there are still some things you’ll need to consider before accepting any offer.

Does the salary reflect your worth?

There are plenty of salary-checking websites to find out what the starting salary for various jobs are. If you aren’t sure, it’s definitely acceptable to email an advisor from your university to ask for some advice.

Most professional recruiters from major companies will offer a realistic and fair salary. For some other job offers though, there is a chance that they will try to lowball you. It is important to know what you will or won’t accept as a salary before you even start your job hunt. Always believe that you are worth the pay but do not expect them to pay you more than is reasonable.

Keep in mind that your first salary can set the bar for other salaries throughout your career. If your first salary is high, it will be easier to negotiate salaries for other jobs down the road because you can use your higher salary as a standard for other jobs to meet.

Do you like the company?

Sometimes you will be so desperate for a job that you are willing to compromise your own standards to work for a company you don’t like or approve of. A good example of this comes from the TV show How I Met Your Mother. Marshall, a main character, dreams of being an environmental lawyer. However, when money gets tight he decides to accept a job offer from a law firm that fights for the rights of the guys who are causing pollution instead of trying to prevent it. Eventually he realizes that he hated this job and regrets taking the offer.

If you don’t like the company for its values, the environment, or other workers, it probably won’t be a good fit for you. This is a place where you could be spending several years of your life so it is important to accept an offer from a place that has the same standards and morals as yourself.

Do you know what the job entails?

There is nothing worse than applying for a job with a vague description only to find out that your tasks don’t relate to what you want to be doing. During your interview, take advantage of the time when the interviewer asks if you have any questions. Make sure you know exactly what the job entails and that it is something that you would be interested in doing.

Part of knowing what the job entails is knowing if it will develop your skills and put you onto a path of further success. If the job will take you to a dead end or does not help you develop skills that you are interested in, it might not be a good fit for you.

Keep in mind what you will want five years from now. Do you want to look back at your job and think that it was a waste of time? No! You want a job that will help you grown and progress even after graduation. You want to have a job that challenges you and allows you room to grow.
That first job offer can be exciting and appealing. But before you jump at an offer, make sure you know all of your options. Search for the best offer possible and don’t settle for something that you think isn’t worthy of your talents. However, don’t become too cocky and wait for the best offer in the world to come up. You’ll know what will work for you when you find it so stay diligent in your search. Occasionally you will need to take a detour job you don’t love to get to build up to finding your dream job. But after some research and time, you’ll find a job that is a good fit for you and gives you everything you need.

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