Graduates – What you need to consider before accepting your first job offer
Looking for that first job after graduating can be a daunting task. Depending on what subject you have studied you might need to decide on your career path as well as the usual choices re the company, role and team. If you’ve successfully navigated this and received an offer then congratulations! Before you go ahead and accept that offer though, there are a few things that you should consider;
Your day-to-day duties
If this is your first full-time job then it can come as a bit of a shock to the system suddenly having to join the rat-race. Entry level roles can tend to be more repetitive than senior roles as your skill-set will be more limited for a while. You need to make sure that you understand exactly what the duties are going to be and that you are happy with them.
This can be a more difficult decision for graduates than other job hunters. Many graduates live away from home whilst studying. Some want to return home, some want to stay where they studied and others want to move to totally different locations. This means you need to decide what location you want to live in, then you need to decide where you want to work. This isn’t as simple as picking a town or city, you should research the cost and availability of accommodation. What about commuting options? These things will affect the salary and location you need to be looking for.
Company type and size
There are lots of options; small but well established, start-ups and large companies. Each of these have their positives and negatives but it is too big a subject to going into detail here so check out my blog post on the subject.
Career progression / Personal development
There have been a lot of articles recently about how education doesn’t prepare graduates for the world of work. You will have gained lots of new skills and knowledge whilst at University but there is still a lot more to learn. Your first job should be the beginning of your, hopefully long and successful, career. Before accepting a role make sure that you will be able to develop your skillset, be that through internal or external training.
The hours you will be expected to work can vary massively from company to company and role to role. Double check what the hours are, whether they are flexible, if there is any overtime available and will you be expected to work shifts? Would you be willing to work those hours week in, week out? If you are using public transport you need to see what the implications are of those hours.
There is now a myriad of benefits that companies can offer. When looking at these you should be considering how they affect you now, and in the future. Will they save you money? Will they make your life easier / better? What about pensions (it may seem a long time off but the sooner you get the pot growing, the more there will be at the end) In short, you should treat all roles as if they are going to be the company you will stay with forever, until the point you want to leave!
You may wonder why I have put this last as many people think it’s all about the money. It isn’t and it is never more true than at the beginning of your career. Yes, you need to be able to live and eat on the money that you earn, but you also need to look at the bigger picture (ie all of the things that I’ve mentioned above)
When you’re considering any offers you have received, have a think about these things and talk it through with friends and family. This job should be one you will remain in, and progress with, so you need to know that it’s the right role for you. Starting your career off as a job-hopper will affect your future career prospects. If you are working with a Recruiter then hopefully they will be able to offer you advice on these areas. It is worth bearing in mind though that much of the industry takes a sales rather than consultative approach to the job-hunting process. If you feel you are being forced into a role that you don’t want then trust your gut and decline the offer. It’s much better than quitting within the first few weeks.
Victoria Watkins is Office Manager here at Corriculo Ltd. After working as a Recruitment Consultant for 5 years she moved to Office Management for an IT consultancy 7 years ago. Victoria was one of the first members of our team and deals with all of our administration and accounts. Connect with her on LinkedIn, Twitter or Google+
Photo credit – Rob Chan on flickr