Summary: The time for that first job offer to come rolling in has come, but you may be questioning if the job is right for you and if it will help you reach your goals.
A valuable lesson can be learned from the movie Monster University. At the end of the movie, Sulley and Mike take jobs in the mail room at Monsters, Inc., and are able to work their way up to the Scare Floor where they become a top Scare Team. While the idea of taking a menial job that is not directly related to what you want to do may not sound like a smart option, sometimes it is the best option in order to get into your dream company and field. We are not saying you have to start at the very bottom if you have skills and experience that relate to the job. Just don’t prevent yourself from taking a position if it can help you in the long term.
When your first job comes around after college or even before, there are a number of lessons to be learned that will help you prepare for the future. Ask yourself these four questions to decide whether the job will help you move towards your goal.
1. What can I learn?
There may be skills that you can learn from the job that will be beneficial for future jobs. For example, you may be a good writer but need work on details to the content or grammar. Everyone could use some work on things that they are good at.
2. Is the job related to future career goals?
Your first job will likely not be what you hope to end up with forever. Data suggests that only 27 percent of college graduates have a job related to their degree. This may mean that many jobs are just looking for a college degree and not something specific. You may also find that your college degree does not relate to a field you actually enjoy working in. No one expects you to work in an entry-level position, but you will have to start there.
3. Is the environment a good fit?
You may already know you don’t like fast-paced environments or that slow-paced offices drag you down. If you don’t already know, your first job will be a great way to learn. You may be surprised to learn what a good fit is for you.
4. What skills have been acquired that can be used for the next job?
Keep track of everything you do during your first job such as tasks and programs you were involved with and the skills you have learned. When the time comes for you to move on and find your next job, you will be prepared to move up to something bigger and better. Perhaps you learned to use a new program such as Adobe Illustrator that you can add to your resume. It is not yet time to move on from your first job unless you can say you mastered a least one new skill. The exception to this is if your current job is not providing any opportunities to learn anything new or useful.
To learn more about how to approach your first job, read these articles:
- Lessons Learned from First Jobs of Successful People
- How to Make That First Job Worthwhile
- Tips for Young Graduates Looking for Their First Job
Photo: flickr.com4 Questions to Ask When You Get Your First Job by Amanda Griffin