Too many people (especially my parents), college often seems like an uncomplicated chain of events. You attend classes, get good grades, graduate with a degree in your chosen field, and join the workforce. Pretty simple, right?
Unfortunately, life never seems to play out quite the way we plan, and it’s this oversimplified progression from student to employee that encourages some new college grads to take the first non-terrible job they find. Honestly, they deserve better, and so do you. That’s why we always recommend that recent grads searching for their first job after college compare potential opportunities to these standards. Trust us — you’ll be glad you did.
1.) The Company Invests in Your Future
You have a list of criteria you’re looking for in your first job. A decent starting salary, good healthcare benefits, and paid-time-off might be top priorities. What you probably aren’t considering, however, is what investment a potential employer is willing to make in you. Will your hard work be recognized and rewarded? Are there opportunities for promotion and growth within the organization? When you’re applying for a position, ask about the possibility for an internal promotion or the chance to try different roles within the company. These kinds of opportunities let you know the company is invested in your future, and there’s an additional benefit for you: job stability.
For example, at IDR, we believe our employees are the driving force of our success and we offer lots of opportunities for professional development. In fact, in the past year alone, our incredible growth has led us to promote more than 30% of our staff. We also believe it’s important for our employees to share in IDR’s accomplishments. That’s why in 2010, we became an employee-owned organization. Through our Employee Stock Ownership Program, we empower each member of our team to achieve their best work, and together we share in the prosperity we create.
In your first job after college, make sure your employer is investing in you and your long-term career goals. Otherwise, consider taking your talents elsewhere.
2.) Your New Employer Gives You Chances to Grow
Just because a position is entry level, doesn’t mean you should be doing busy work. Yes, there is a lot you’ll need to learn when you begin a new role, and it’s important to understand the work culture and expectations of your company. But don’t let your lack of experience stop you from pursuing opportunities to grow in your new position. For instance, offer to help a team member with a task or project they’re working on. Not only will you gain experience and develop new skills, you’ll be seen by others as a team player, someone they would be happy to work with on future assignments.
It’s also important to consider your long-term career goals when you begin a new position. Like most recent college grads, you’re likely to have quite a few different jobs over the course of your career. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, people in the workforce today will change jobs and careers more frequently than any other generation in history. Your first job after college doesn’t have to lead you to a career you stay in forever. Instead, consider the position as an opportunity to develop in ways that are beneficial to your long-term career success, and make sure your company gives you chances to grow.
IDR offers employees opportunities to grow and advance through our Leadership Development and Management Training Programs. We believe in developing leaders, and we make sure our employees grow along with our company.
3.) The Organization Rewards Your Work
Are you working hard? It’s not unreasonable to be rewarded for your work, but rewards can go beyond compensation and earnings increases. Let’s consider some of the other ways you might be rewarded for your efforts on the job.
Healthcare benefits, for example, are an important consideration when searching for a new position. Employer health plans can vary widely, which is why it’s crucial to dig into the details a bit to make sure you’re getting the coverage you need. Does your health plan offer a wide network of providers? Is it affordable? A recent survey found that 71% of employees were satisfied with their employer-sponsored health plans. However, employees also felt there was room for improvement, particularly when it came to insurance costs and benefits education.
Beyond traditional health benefits, some employers have implemented wellness programs and, to avoid chronic stress at work, they offer employees time off. At IDR, we give our employees three weeks of PTO from year one because we believe in rewarding hard work.
4.) Your Boss Trusts You to Take the Lead
There’s nothing more frustrating than starting a new job only to have someone looking over your shoulder at every move you make. Over time, this type of management can become incredibly demoralizing and it definitely won’t allow you to produce your best work.
To avoid this situation, you need to find a company that allows you to take the lead and gives you a stake in the outcome. Companies that have successfully built a culture of ownership rely on shared values that serve as the foundation of the organization.
At IDR, our brand promise and purpose motivate everything we do, and the trust we have in our employees has helped IDR win the Best of Staffing Award in Client and Talent satisfaction for six years in a row.
Want to get the most out of your first job after college? Join the IDR team!