As you close in on the end of college, it’s time to make your next move: Looking for the first job. There’s plenty on your mind – salary, perks, medical benefits, work-life balance and others – as you approach the first stepping stone in your career. New graduates need those crucial insights into how to search for, find, and land that first job, especially since there’s a lot that goes into it that college life didn’t prepare you for.
Before you begin walking down the job hunt path, it’s important to know these seven truths about finding your first job:
#1 Job application deadlines are nothing like college deadlines
It worked well when you waited till the due date while making your college applications. You were aiming for perfection and went all out to make your application pitch perfect. But that won’t work when applying for a job, for deadlines in the corporate world differ significantly from deadlines in college. When managers are keen to hire new people, recruiters don’t want to wait until all the applications come in. Most resumes, as we all know, get only six seconds of a recruiting manager’s time so turning yours in ahead of time may give you an early mover advantage. There may be a deadline, but there’s never a call to wait till the due date.
#2 Companies don’t give you jobs; people do
Fresh out of college, most of us know the importance of research and spend hours reading up on companies that interest us. But it’s imperative to remember that men can do more than machines when it comes to hiring. Never forget the importance of networking – formally, informally and through any channel. Stay connected with people through professional sites and at industry events.
#3 Offices may be fun places, but there’s always politics
Google, Adobe and Autodesk may have brought the fun factor into the workplace, and many others have followed suit. But despite the cool cafes, plentiful snacks and fun Fridays, workplaces can be complicated. There are cliques, gangs and double agents, and just like with your family, you can’t choose co-workers. Learning to navigate water-cooler and office politics is extremely important, especially when you’re a newbie.
#4 It is not always about you; teamwork is vital
It may have been “I, me, myself” till now, but when you get a job you need to work toward the aims of the company. Teamwork allows sharing of ideas, lets people’s strengths and weaknesses come to light, grows interpersonal skills and leads to efficient working of the organization. Since the organization’s success depends on your ability to collaborate, you need to hone your collaboration skills.
#5 Listen with an open ear, then speak & ask questions
In The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, bestselling author Stephen R. Covey lists habit 5 as: “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” Most of us are not natural born listeners, but experts say that the ability to talk less and listen more is a vital skill. This acquired skill can be enabled by another behavior that’s extremely common to young graduates – asking questions. Questions are extremely good; they show you’re paying attention and are willing to dig deeper. But there’s a place and time for asking questions. Listen to all that your supervisor/colleague has to say and set up a convenient time to resolve all your queries.
#6 Your job description will keep evolving
What you were told during the interview may not be all that you need to do while at work. Your supervisor may evaluate you – it could be every year, six months or quarter – but most of the activities you do on a daily basis may differ significantly than what you were told you needed to do. Never balk at exploring uncharted waters for working across sectors, teams and projects can be a great opportunity to find your strengths and weaknesses, and advance your career.
#7 Like it or not, you are a representative of your company
The moment an organization brings you on to its rolls, you become an ambassador of the company. This means that everything you do – Facebook updates, Insta posts, midnight tweets and things you say to clients or managers – reflect on your employer. Julia Gometz, founder of a human resources consultancy and author of The Brandful Workforce, says: “Make sure that you are signing up for the entire company, not just your specific job. For a good first job experience, it’s best to choose a brand that aligns with your passions.” After all, if you #LoveWhatYouDo, you’re likely to be more fulfilled by your job.
The job hunt is an inevitable part of your career, but you need to make an informed choice. Look for a position that will lead to more and greater opportunities in the future. All the best!