As your final year in college comes to a close, you are often faced with hundreds of questions about what kind of work you want to get into. Don't fret if you haven't found something already. According to a SimplyHired.com poll, only 20% of graduates have a job at graduation day. Even after years of studying a given subject, you may not know for sure what you want to do. However, your first job doesn't necessarily define what you're going to do for the rest of your life. But there are some qualities you should look for in a first post grad job to aid in your career down the line.
In this case, working for a reputable company does not necessarily mean you need to find a job at a large, well-known organization (though that sometimes helps when moving on to subsequent opportunities). Rather, find a job at a company that you believe in. As you search, perform background research on each company to which you apply so that you know what it’s all about and if it's a place you would truly want to work.
Learn About Yourself
Your first job is a time to figure out what you enjoy, what you're good at and what you're not. It is also a time to learn whether you prefer to work under a certain management style, if you like longstanding corporations or startups, and the type of work that interests you. By searching for a job where you have the opportunity to volunteer on a number of different projects (even in a small way) you will gain experience in areas you are (or might be) interested in, and you will get an idea of what your ideal career entails.
Skill Building and Upward Movement
Most likely in your first job out of college, you will be starting at the bottom of the totem pole and will need to work your way up over the years. Therefore, it is important to look for jobs at companies where you will have room for growth. Not only does this entail applying to companies where there are higher levels, but it is important to ask about how they fill those higher level positions – do they promote from within, or do they have a tendency to hire from outside of the company? In addition to asking whether there is room for growth in a given position, you can ask the higher-ups you interview with how they got where they are.
Don't think that because you've graduated from college, you're finished learning. It is a tremendous plus if a company offers its employees educational opportunities such as classes or seminars. Not only will it keep your skills current (or allow you to learn even more), but it will increase your value at that company.
Your first job is an opportunity to get your feet wet in the working world, learn more about what you do well, and to start feeling out a potential career. In fact, SimplyHired.com respondents believe the most important aspect of a job is the opportunity to learn and develop your career. There are plenty of opportunities out there for new grads, so start your first job search today!