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What To Look For In Your First Job

If you’re – finally! – in the middle of your last year at college, you likely spend lots of time thinking about that first, after-college job. What will your job be like? What kind of company will you work for? How big will your starting salary be? Will you get along with your co-workers?
 
There are so many variables to think about when looking for that first job! Whether you’ve already started haunting job boards and sending out resumes or you haven’t taken the first step, we’ve got you covered. Read on for a list of the most important factors to consider when looking for your post-college job:
 
1.) Room for growth - You’re at the starting point of your earning potential and can’t be too hung up on salary. A respectable paycheck is nice and you definitely shouldn’t be working for pennies, but it’s more important to consider whether a position will offer you room for growth. After all, you don’t want the first few years of your career path to be stagnant.
 
2.) Exposure to new skills and knowledge - Experience is truly the best teacher. When looking for a job, be sure to choose one that will help you acquire new skills and broaden your knowledge base. This way, even if the job doesn’t end up being a keeper, you’ll be more marketable for future positions.
 
3.) Varied responsibilities - A first job will not necessarily match your skill set. You might find yourself being asked to assume responsibilities you’d never thought you could handle. Instead of stressing about this possibility, if it comes up at an interview, look at it as a positive factor. You still don’t know the extent of your capabilities. The opportunity to explore new tasks will help you tap into your true potential.
 
4.) Benefits - When considering your take-home pay, find out which – if any – benefits are offered. Standard employee benefits include health insurance, a 401K, paid time off and sick leave. Accepting a job with a higher salary but no benefits can actually leave you with less money in your checking account at the end of the month.
 
5.) Company history - No matter how exciting a position sounds, it’s crucial to find out all you can about the company itself. How long has the company been in business? Is there a high turnover among employees? Have they recently gone through a management shakeup? While you might be drawn to a young startup that promises tremendous room for advancement, a well-established company with a proven success track is less chancy and offers more stability. Check out online reviews at glassdoor.com and other similar websites for reviews from employees.
 
6.) Don’t expect perfection - You likely have a list of everything that’s important to you in a job. Lots of these factors may be important, and you might even consider them deal-breakers at a prospective job. It’s important to remember, though, that no job is perfect. You certainly won’t find perfection at your first real job! Scan your list to determine what is truly a non-negotiable to you and what you would consider dropping if everything else fits well.
 
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