Career After College: What to Consider Before Accepting Your First Job

Graduating from college is an exciting accomplishment. All of the work you’ve put into studying has finally paid off, and you’re now ready to embark on the next chapter of your life. For many, this entails applying for and accepting a job.

The decisions you make now can impact your financial future and overall career trajectory. Whether you’re gearing up for graduation or just recently graduated, there are a lot of factors to think about when choosing where you’d like to start your career. To help, here are four considerations to keep top of mind:

Career Advancement

Career advancement may not look the same from one individual to the next. For some, it may mean working their way up to an executive position at one company. Meanwhile, others may value fine-tuning their skills, becoming experts in their field, and eventually leveraging those skills to pursue opportunities elsewhere. Regardless, having a general sense of where you would like to be in five years may help you better envision your career path at a particular company.

Ideally, you should seek opportunities at companies that support your professional growth and personal aspirations. During the interview process, be sure to ask questions about mentorship programs, ongoing training or learning opportunities, and the typical career path for someone starting in the role for which you’ve applied.

Work Relocation

Recent graduates tend to gravitate toward metropolitan areas when starting their careers. If you ultimately decide to relocate for work, you should ask the employer about the type of assistance they offer to make the transition easier and more affordable for you. For instance, some companies offer relocation assistance or programs to help get you acclimated to a new neighborhood. Others may provide resources for finding rentals and roommates or information on financing a home with an FHA loan, which can help relieve some of the financial implications of settling in a new city.

During a time when many companies are still operating remotely, you may not be constricted to a specific city (or at least not yet). Before accepting a position during the pandemic, be sure to ask about the current work arrangements and whether or not you will be expected to come into the office now or in the future, as this may also help you determine if and where you’d like to move.

Competitive Benefits

On paper, a company’s benefits may seem alluring. However, it’s important to look into their benefits package to ensure they are providing you with the resources you need to live comfortably. Common benefits include a match up on your 401k, health insurance, dental and vision insurance, and paid time off. Some companies even offer student loan repayment assistance or tuition reimbursement for those interested in continuing their education.

Aside from the standard benefits, you should also research how the company promotes a healthy work-life balance. They may support your health and wellbeing by offering benefits like an employee assistance program (EAP), gym memberships, or flexible work hours. Not only will these types of perks improve productivity and personal health, but they will also help you feel more engaged and valued in your new role.

Opportunity Costs

With every opportunity comes opportunity costs. Before accepting a position, be sure to weigh the pros and cons of any foregone options. You’ll want to research each opportunity carefully to ensure you’re making the best decision for your personal and professional needs.

After college, it can be tempting to accept the first offer you receive or the offer with the highest salary. However, there are financial factors and other implications to consider. If you’re deciding between multiple opportunities, start with a side-by-side comparison. Make sure that the job you accept aligns with your career goals best and that you can envision yourself fitting into the company culture. In addition, you should evaluate the salary and benefits to ensure you’ll be making enough to cover your cost of living and satisfy your needs.

Making strategic decisions early in your career will help set you up for long-term success. As you prepare to enter the workforce, keep these considerations in mind to help determine the best path for your needs.

By Business Career Center
Business Career Center