Graduate schemes are opening for 2017 recruitment and everyone is telling you to get on and make some applications. Rolling recruitment means that you need to apply as early as possible, right? Well, yes, if you’re sure you know what you want to do, that’s a great idea. But, are you sure?
Here are my top things you should think about to be certain that you are applying for your perfect job.
1. Are you excited by the job you’re applying for ?
Starting your first job should be exciting. You should be looking forward to doing the work, meeting the colleagues and living the lifestyle. If the job is right for you then it’s important that you can visualise yourself in work. When you picture yourself in role do you feel happy and excited? If you don’t feel positive about the job, it may not be for you.
2. Does the job align to your values?
Have you thought about what your values are? Do you want to “help”? Is the job going to help anyone or anything? Perhaps what matters to you is money and a glitzy lifestyle? Are you applying for something which is going to give you what you want? It’s probably not going to suit if you get this wrong. If your social conscience plagues you every day at work, you’re not going to be happy. If your job doesn’t give you the chance to earn the money you want, you might grow to resent the time you spend doing it.
3. Does the work sound interesting?
Of course you want a job to be interesting. You’ve worked hard at University to get a degree and an interesting job is the least you deserve. It sounds platitudinous, but what is of interest to one person is not necessarily of interest to another. Have you researched into what is involved in the particular job you’re looking at? You might want to think about what the job offers in terms of a mix (for example) of writing, data analysis, presentation delivery and people engagement. Does the likely balance suit you? Don’t mistake glamour and excitement for interest. It might be wonderful to go on one flash business trip. It’s probably a lot less fantastic if you’re travelling all the time.
4. What are the career prospects?
When you’re frantically trying to get applications out, it’s often hard to think further than the “here and now”. However, it’s worth doing some thinking about where the job might lead and whether that appeals to you. If this particular job isn’t going to be right for you for very long, ask yourself if it’ s improving your general employability, or leading you in an interesting direction. What if you have no idea what you want to be doing in 5 (let alone 10) years’ time? Then ask yourself whether this job keeps options open for you. If it’s not going to develop new skills or open new doors it might not be the right move.
5. Where is the job based?
This might not matter to you at all. Great! Alternatively you might feel very strongly about where you want to be. If you do care where you’re based and the job is not in the right place, are you going to be able to “stick it”? It might be that you can tolerate the location in the short term and the job is going to give you a raft of new skills which will make it easier for you to get the job in the coveted location. Great! But what if the job is giving you niche skills and there is no clear exit route? It might make you very unhappy if you end up stuck in the wrong place.
6. Do you think the hours will suit you?
Does the job involve working long hours on a regular basis? Are you up for this? If you’re a champion athlete or accomplished musician you probably need to spend a lot of time training or practising to keep at the top of your game. You might be someone who likes to spend time with family and friends. Will it matter if the hours become all consuming? If you hear tell that a particular job calls for long hours of work don’t imagine that it will be different for you. You’re not going to be able to wander off at 5.00pm. Work out whether you can deal with this.
So what if you feel a bit uncomfortable after reading this. Perhaps everyone else you know is applying for a particular job and you’ve just been going along with the herd? You might want to stop and take a long deep breath. Maybe you don’t see your future quite the way you thought you did? Don’t plough on with the applications for the job you don’t want. Take stock, talk your thoughts through with your careers consultant. You should be able to do that by phone or Skype if you are now off campus until October.
If you’re still feeling good about your chosen route then why hang around? Start getting your applications together. Good luck!