4 Things You Should Think About Before You Take on Your First Job
It would be absurd to expect a person to make a snap decision about something as important as a job, but there is one thing that often affects graduates jumping on the first offer they get: desperation.
There, there, we understand! Job hunting is a long, hard and draining process. One minute you’re sending out CV after CV, cover letter after cover letter, only to receive silence or rejection while lucky classmates seem to get offers left right and centre.
But then the magical moment arrives: an interview! Amidst the blur of job application frenzy, one lone saviour has heard your call and has offered a helping hand; you dig through your emails, search up the company and voila! It’s a company you like and their snazzy website with open work spaces, team lunches and smiling employees has pulled you right in. You take the first interview, and then another and then…
There it is. The job offer. The one thing that will mark your transition to the world of true adulting. You’re keen, you’re raring to go, but wait! Let’s look at some things you all ought to consider before you accept.
What Was Your First Impression of the Company?
In other words, do you think you could thrive here? Was it a quiet environment with a steady pace or a fast-paced startup? Look at how employees interact with one another, and try to imagine yourself in this space.
If the image pleases you, zoom in on some other factors. Did your interviewer answer any questions you have in detail? You’re going to spend a few years here; how the company treats you during the interview process is an important indicator of how seriously they take you.
If emails are ignored, questions left unanswered or hiring managers are seemingly tight lipped, the novelty of a high-end office wears off very quickly, and you might suddenly find yourself in a The Devil Wears Prada remake.
What Can You Learn Here?
Most job specifications often require certain skills relevant to the job, but many also give a brief explanation as what you will learn on the job. Do these skills seem relevant and necessary to you?
Bear in mind that the skills you learn in your job will essentially form a large part of your experience which goes on your CV and will be seen by future employers. On the flip side, if the job specifications don’t mention anything regarding new skills or tasks that will improve your skill set, make sure to ask!
If you still can’t get an answer, then this is a red flag and a possible dead end. Remember, you’re not just filling a space – you need to grow too!
Love Doesn’t Pay the Bills
The most uncomfortable topic in the world. While we need to get rid of the stigma regarding job salaries, it’s vital that you should be happy with a salary that matches your skills and position.
Just because you’re fresh out of university doesn’t mean you are inexperienced and you don’t deserve to be sold short just because an employer knows you want the job.
Aggressive negotiation probably won’t work (and if the company has a legitimate reason, it’s also very rude) but always compare the salary offered to the market rate and politely ask your employer if they’re willing to negotiate or explain their reasoning.
If they promote quickly and there is an opportunity for a pay rise, that might be enough for a yes, but if they become abrasive then that’s a sign for departure.
Remember: you need to pay rent, transport, food and have money left over for saving – the days of working for “experience” are over.
Location, location, location
If you don’t want to live there or you’ve visited once for the interview and have realised you’re not prepared to move or commute there, then your senses have done the work for you.
Considering the cost of moving, the effect it will have on your personal relationships and the effect it will have on your wallet (Londoners, we feel your pain), realise that this is long term and potentially permanent.
If you’ve got nothing to lose and you’re willing to dive right in, by all means! But should any emergencies happen or you suddenly realise transport is difficult (some jobs do demand a driving license, make sure to take this into consideration) the overall cost of moving back to square one is rather high…
Unfortunately, going through multiples interviews and impressing your interviewer doesn’t always equate to getting a job. And while it’s hard work convincing someone you’re worth taking on, you can’t make any real promises unless a formal job offer is made, and in the end, the final decision doesn’t lie with you!
It’s rough, but taking in these points before making a final decision is a good place to start – if only to nip possible bad jobs in the bud.
Kitty Lai is a tea fuelled English graduate with a severe book buying habit. Find her on LinkedIn.
Inspiring Interns is a graduate recruitment agency which specialises in sourcing candidates for internships and giving out graduate careers advice. To hire graduates or browse graduate jobs, visit their website.