Your first job after university can be a pivotal moment in your career, so you want to be sure you’re making the right decision. But before you go ahead and sign on the dotted line, there are four important questions you need to ask yourself. These are:
1. Are you excited about the job or are you just taking the first job you’ve been offered?
The first question you need to ask yourself is, are you just taking this job because you’ve been offered it and you need a job? This can be a huge pitfall when you’re studying or if you’ve recently graduated, don’t just jump on the first thing that comes along just because you feel like you should be working or taking the next step. It’s much better to bide your time and weigh up your options to make sure you choose a job you really want.
2. Will this job help you to achieve your career goals?
They say you should start as you mean to go on and while career changes do happen, it pays to get the best start possible in your working life. Particularly if you’ve been studying hard in a specific field and you know the direction you want your career to go.
Review the job information, and ask yourself whether this job is going to help you get a foot on the ladder and whether it will help you to achieve your overall career goals. If the answer is no, this could be a sign the job isn’t right for you. If you accept it any way you could be halting your progression and end up resenting the role.
3. Do you agree with the company’s mission, vision and values?
Of course responsibilities, salaries and benefits are important when choosing a job, but as graduate or student, you can’t always expect to walk straight into the perfect high-paying job. There will always be the lucky ones that do, but generally, you’ve got to climb the ladder for a bit to obtain the position you want.
But one thing you shouldn’t be willing to compromise on at any stage is whether you agree with the company’s values. This is important because you don’t want to work for an employer if you don’t support their mission and you certainly don’t want to contribute to something that goes against your ethics or values. So before you accept, question whether you agree with what they’re trying to do. Otherwise, you’ll find it harder to be passionate about the role.
4. Is there room to progress?
Last but certainly not least, you want to choose a role that is going to offer room for progression and plenty of opportunities for you to learn and boost your skill-set. If the role shows no signs of progression and at no point during your interview did the employer mention chances to develop and grow, ask yourself if this is the right decision. No one wants to find themselves in a dead-end job, especially so early on in their career.
Have you got all the answers?
If you’ve asked yourself these four important questions and you can see without a doubt that this role could be good for your career and your future – that’s great! Don’t hesitate, call them back and accept the role. If however, asking yourself the above has left you unsure, perhaps it’s best to hold out for a better position, one you’re more passionate about.
Andrew Fennell is the founder of careers advice websites StandOut CV and Job Description Library – he is a former recruitment consultant and contributes careers advice to publications like Business Insider, The Guardian, and The Independent.