Wed 22 Feb 2012
This guest post is by Jesse Langley on behalf of Colorado Technical University.
As a young professional entering the professional world fresh out of college, there’s a chance you have no idea what you should look for in your first job. In this economy, many professionals are grateful to even have job prospects at all. But it could benefit you to hold out for a position that contributes positively to your professional development, instead of settling for a dreaded “dead-end” job. To determine if your job fits the prototype of an ideal first job, ask yourself (as well as your interviewer) the following questions before committing to a position.
Will this job challenge me?
Although you are just starting out, having a job that asks you to complete menial tasks and monotonous paperwork will not aid in your professional development. Your job should come with several challenges and responsibilities that will help you grow as a professional and give you a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day. If a job requires very little skill or effort, it might diminish your sense of purpose within the company. Without a sense of purpose, it could be difficult to find the motivation to continue giving it your all a couple of years down the line.
Are there opportunities for advancement?
Although a challenging work environment may offer opportunities for advancement, the two concepts don’t necessarily go hand in hand. For this reason, seek out jobs that give you the opportunity to climb up the corporate ladder after investing time and effort in the company. Upward mobility is an important feature of any job because it allows you to develop as a professional and gain experience in leadership as a reward for your hard work with the company.
Does the company offer tuition reimbursement?
Perhaps you have been delaying your education because the rising cost of tuition has made it inaccessible. Many companies are willing to invest in your professional development by offering tuition reimbursement in exchange for more highly skilled and knowledgeable workers. Choosing jobs that offer this option can give you the opportunity to attain the education you have always wanted without the burden of student loan debt. To balance your work schedule with your school schedule, consider online education alternatives to obtain a quality education at a more accommodating pace.
Will it make me a more well-rounded professional?
Some jobs give you the opportunity to get out of your comfort zone and work with professionals from all different backgrounds in several different departments of the company. Look for jobs that allow you to work as a team with a variety of professionals to develop transferable skills. Having a holistic experience in your company will make you more marketable to potential employers once you move on to other professional endeavors. In addition to adding a diverse list of achievements to your resume, working in a collaborative environment will also develop your people skills, which are equally valuable to employers.
Asking these questions can give you more than just insight into a prospective company; they can also help you discover which jobs would be best for you and your future.