Finding your first job out of college is an exciting and sometimes intimidating process. On the one hand, your future depends on it! You may be faced with new expenses such as rent, food, and student loan payments, and feeling the pressure to find the “perfect” job. On the other hand, today’s workplace is much different from that of your parents’ generation. The average person changes careers multiple times during his or her work history. Does this mean you should take your first job out of college lightly? Not at all—it simply means that you can stop worrying, and focus your energies on finding the best possible job for you at this time.
Know What You’re Looking For
If you haven’t yet identified your job target, now is the time to do so! Take advantage of your school’s career services and job placement opportunities. These services exist for one reason: to help you in your career. Most career services offices offer a variety of assessment tools to help you determine your best career option. For some college students, this may mean a career outside of your major. For other students, this may mean identifying a specific career within the larger field of study.
Do Your Research
Finding your ideal job takes effort. It’s not enough to simply post your resume, job application, and cover letter on the Internet and wait for employers to come calling. If you want to find the best job, you need to engage all your resources. Research the types of companies you want to work for and find out as much about them as possible. Use your network of friends and associates and a variety of job-search tools, including the Internet, classifieds, state and government postings, job fairs, cold calling, and placement agencies and recruiters (although be wary of any agencies or recruiters that charge a fee).
When you take advantage of all the options available in your job search, multiple offers are more likely. This method allows you to practice job interviewing and company research skills, and ideally, it will put you in a position of choosing a job rather than accepting one out of fear or desperation.
While it’s tempting to accept the first offer you receive, consider it carefully. You don’t want to be stuck in a job you hate. If possible, stay in your first job out of college for at least a couple of years to demonstrate your dependability and to gain useful skills. Whether you move up in the company or change is up to you and your options; however, the first job is important for college students and new graduates.
When You’ve Accepted a Position
Once you have the job, first congratulate yourself! Then, do the best work you can. When done well, your first job out of college can be the foundation upon which you build a successful and enjoyable career.