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Choosing Your First Job? Consider More than Just Pay!

As a recent college grad, you may be focused on the income potential of a first job. That is understandable since you may have loans to pay off or other expenses that have accumulated while you were focused on your studies.


However, Revision Resume suggests you look at additional aspects of the potential position, and not solely on the pay. Income is certainly important, but there are a few other considerations to think about before signing on the dotted line.


Job Location

Consider where you want to live. Do you want to find a job near your family or in a city that has lots of activities for young professionals? Do you want to live in an area with many jobs in your field so you can potentially switch companies without relocating?


Cost of living will also be different in different locations. How far you can stretch your income will depend on where you live, and needs to be part of your analysis of any job offer. What will it cost to rent an apartment, park your car, or pay for food and entertainment? Evaluate all of these details to help determine which location best meets your needs.


Benefits


When considering a job offer, look at more than just the pay. Does the offer provide benefits? If it does, how much money will be deducted from your paycheck to cover these benefits and what services do these benefits include?


For example, how much will be taken out of your paycheck if you enroll in the company healthcare plan? Is it high deductible or a co-pay? Consider if you need dental or vision benefits as well and the associated costs for each.


Is vacation time important to you? Look at more than just how many weeks you get when first employed. Also consider how your vacation benefits grow with years of service. Investigate how many company holidays are offered each year, and if sick time comes out of your vacation benefits or is from a separate bank.


All of the details are important when considering a job offer. If you love the position being offered but aren't as excited about the benefits, consider negotiating to see if you can make an agreement that more closely meets your needs.


Growth Potential


Does the position you are considering offer growth opportunities? This is an important question that is often overlooked. You may be excited about the job being offered today, but will you still be excited in 2 years? If not, do you see potential for this position leading you down the path to a subsequent position?


Gorick Ng, a career adviser at Harvard College, suggests graduates “Think not about your first job, but your second or third job.”


Culture


Company culture may be the key to job satisfaction so it is worth investigating.


Typically, you will get a feel for the company culture during the interview process--although this may be more difficult if the interviews were held completely virtually.


It is worthwhile to try to learn what the office layout will be, and how people work together as a team and communicate. Are there regular meetings, or do people use email as the primary method of communication? During the interview process did you get the sense that there was respect among employees?


Other important questions to consider include:

  • Is there potential for recognition?

  • Does the company have core values that align with your own?

  • Will they invest in employee training and development?

  • Is the organization's mission clear?


All of these are worthwhile questions to ask yourself before accepting a position. They may make the difference between enjoying your first job and wishing you were working for a different company.


Schedule and Flexibility


As we enter the post-COVID phase, many employees are focused on work-life balance and flexibility. Studies show that more than half of employees want hybrid work arrangements to continue. New hires should consider this as well. Does the job offer you the opportunity to work from home a few days a week, or are you expected to be in the office at 7am every day? Are there clear expectations for your hours and the company policies? What are your preferences?


It can be enticing to just look at the amount a company is offering to pay you, but it is worth evaluating the entire package including location, benefits, growth potential and culture. You may want to apply to a few different positions so you can compare and contrast to determine what is the right fit for you.


Revision Resume would be happy to assist you in the application process, including creating a targeted resume for each job posting that interests you. Contact us for information about how to get started!



Related Reading:

Resume Tips for Recent Grads

Tips for a New Grad to Stand Out

How Many Pages Should My Resume Be?






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