Post # 1
I am getting ready to graduate from college with a technical degree and my job search is peaking. I have opportunities for several different positions in a couple of different fields and roles. Since the jobs are so different, I’m having a tough time deciding on the best position that will help me build my career path. Anyone have advice on the most important/relevant criteria for choosing a position to start a career? What kinds of job experience is most helpful/valuable to gain in a first job?
Post # 3
I graduated in 2011 and went to work at a start-up company that is heavily focused on chemistry and the environment, which is not something I would have expected as an English major.
However, working for a small company has been very rewarding because there is a lot of flexibility and the management is very approachable and easy to work with. Also, because the company is so small, everyone takes on a little more responsibility and covers a wider range of tasks than I think you would at a large firm. My resume shows that I did a lot of different things and took on a lot of challenges. So if you have the chance to start out at a small company, I would do it.
Also, this is the time in your career to take chances and try new things, so definitely don’t be afraid to apply for a job that might be a little outside your comfort zone but that you think will be rewarding at the same time as it’s challenging.
Things I should have considered earlier, though: My current position doesn’t leave much room for promotion. If you think you might want to stay at a company for a while, make sure there is plenty of headroom above your entry-level position. Also, while most of the team I work with is likable, I should have considered that if you don’t like someone you have to work with daily on day one, you are not going to like them any better after a year.
Post # 4
@anemonie: Thanks for the feedback!
One of my decision points is a small company vs a very large company with a lot of name recognition. Have you experienced negative effects from being at a small company that a lot of people may not know about?
Post # 5
you’re lucky to have choices. even as a nurse, it took me a while to get a job (this was in 2009 though). anyhow, definitely consider if there is room for promotion/growth at the company. other things to consider: benefits (vacation, sick time, insurance options), pay, commute, atmosphere/people at the job, etc
Post # 6
@VAwife: I’ve worked at a company of about 15 people for the last 5 years now. The flexibility is great and my coworkers and boss are more like my big brothers than just simply coworkers. The environment is also WAY more laid back, which I love. My boss lets me study for the CPA tests I’m taking when there’s down time, which is a huge perk for me.
There are cons of working for tiny companies. Mainly, there’s not a lot of room for advancement. I mean, I am the accounting department, so there’s nowhere else for me to go, promotion-wise, so I really can’t see myself staying here much longer. And I have to plan vacations around payroll since I’m the only one that can do it! Also, benefits aren’t the greatest – larger companies have more room for better benefits and options.
Post # 7
- Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL
@li612: other things to consider: benefits (vacation, sick time, insurance options), pay, commute, atmosphere/people at the job, etc
All very important considerations. I may not make as much working for the State as I would in private practice, but I get a lot of benefits as well as paycheck security that I wouldn’t have if I owned my own practice.
As for big company versus small company. I have worked at both. Smaller companies tend to allow you to wear many hats and be responsible for a lot of aspects of your job and potentially other jobs. Larger companies tend to have more specialized jobs where you are responsbile for a limited number of things. There are pros and cons to both. You might feel overwhelmed by too many responsibilities at a small company while you may feel underchallenged and even bored at the lack of responsibilities at a large company.
Write up pros and cons to each job offer and order them by importance. I like a shorter commute because traffic stresses me out, plus, I like being able to go home at lunchtime to take a short nap and let out my dog. The atmoshpere at a company is by far one of the most important aspects but it is also very difficult to assess during a job interview. Do employees seem happy? Does the company have a reputation for being good to its employees? Whom would you be reporting to and if you have met them does it seem like you will get along?
Also, remember that wherever you take your first job will in some way affect the direction your career will take. My first job was a stairstep into multiple practice areas and my choice to specialize in the least popular area (i.e. the one nobody else wanted to deal with) allowed me to make outside contacts that ultimately led to a job offer for another company doing something completely different. Also, pay attention to what kinds of advancement are available in the company. Will you be able to move up the ladder at that company? If not, consider which company offers the best likelihood of opening the doors necessary to make a career elsewhere.
Post # 8
- Wedding: October 2011 - Bed & Breakfast
What are your 5 year goals, and how do each of these places fit with those goals? Like, if you are planning to start a family soon, look for places with family-friendly leave policies and bosses who already have kids. If you want to go into a management track, maybe a larger company with more management experience opportunities would be a bewtter fit. Do you want to be able to take long periods of time off for vacation? A smaller company may make this more difficult as you may be the only person in the company who can do your job. It’s no fun to come back to your desk to 2 or 3 weeks of piled up work. That pretty much negates going on vacay in the first place. Which job will work best for you and your goals?