How to choose your first job

How to choose your first job

Your first break or the first career move you make is very critical as it can define the path to your entire career. Your future job prospects are...

Your first break or the first career move you make is very critical as it can define the path to your entire career. Your future job prospects are based on your previous job and the skills you picked up from it. First time job seekers often tend to make the mistake of taking up the first job they find and later regret it as it doesn’t match upto what they wish to do over a long term.

Theories about the job environment learnt in textbooks and the actual professional sphere are very different and hence often lead to a not so smooth transition for an individual who is just out of college and is thrust in to the corporate jungle. Instead of dealing with anxiety and making decisions out of desperation, one must concentrate on doing a fair bit of groundwork to avoid facing disappointment later. Here are a few guidelines that can give you a heads up when scanning the job scenario in your preferred field.

  • Match your skills and personality to each different role you are evaluating.
  • Don’t be tempted to take up what is on offer simply because it has come to you on a platter and looks promising on the surface.
  • Do your research and explore the position you are being asked to fill.
  • Evaluate if your skills, personality, temperament suit the profile you will be serving.
  • In addition, on a primarily level, ask yourself if you have the physical and mental strength to adhere to the requirements of the job description.
  • Remember, that the first step taken wrong may hound you throughout your career.

Established brand name vs start-up

It is important to decide on your priorities -- whether you would like to opt for big corporations that assure you a big brand name and work in a compartmentalised domain or to make a career with relatively small organizations where the opportunities to learn across multiple disciplines is immense.

Small organisations are more likely to offer an individual the freedom to create, innovate, nurture and opportunities within the organisation as the organisation evolves.

Fancy titles vs nature of job

There is a natural propensity to get carried away by fancy designations without examining the actual nature of the job.

A thorough examination of the role and the growth prospects in the domain are a must before you zero in on a job.

How can the first job shape one's career?

The first job is always significant as it shapes our first impression about the work sphere we are in and helps us imbibe early lessons of office dynamics, employee relations and the role of top management in the organisation’s growth.

One has to learn to eliminate unnecessary distractions like the company of negatively influenced employees and focus on proving one’s worth in the given workplace.

This is the place where your theory gets translated into practice and it is upon the individual to try and excel in whatever position he or she is in, without getting bogged down by competition or performance pressure.

Your experience at your first job can further hone your career ahead in the right direction so it is important to make it worth it as it is the foundation of what the future holds for you.

How can one correct a wrong first job?

Accepting an employment opportunity out of sheer panic, desperation or a submissive attitude can sometimes lead to a wrong career move.

Unfavourable work colleagues or superiors, irrelevant job expectations, dissatisfaction with your growth and an inability to understand your role in the larger scheme of things can often lead you to a dead end with your first job.

Don’t get bogged down by the failure to crack your career at the first shot.

Instead, take learnings out of your job to analyse what went wrong, how you could do things differently the next time and explore further options without limiting yourself by factors like complacency or good salary.

Dare to step out of your comfort zone and look for opportunities that do justice to your qualities as a professional.

Take a chance and quit

The most obvious and easiest way out of a wrong career decision is to quit.

This may not always be the best move because the alternative may be unemployment. And believe it or not, though things have changed somewhat, it is still easier to find a job while already employed.

However, while too many job changes make a person seem like a job hopper, sometimes it is better to just get out.

Before taking this final action, be sure to ask:

  • Is this the only alternative?
  • What will be the financial impact?
  • How will it look to a future employer?

Determine what is wrong and correct it

Just because a job doesn’t seem right now, doesn’t mean the situation can’t be corrected.

Objectively look at the reason(s) the job doesn’t fit in an effort to determine if the situation can be changed.

If there are other impelling reasons to stay (like good learning opportunity, developing new skills), then discuss with the senior management before taking any final action.

Make the best of a bad situation

Depending on the individual situation, it might be wise to stay put for other reasons.

Before taking any action, see if:

  • There is something to be learnt here. In many instances, an employee leaves due to dissatisfaction without fully exploring the possibility of what they might learn by staying.
  • There is a possibility of getting transferred to another position, department or division. If the issue is with co-workers and not the company in general, look into moving away from the problem by taking a transfer to another department or division.
  • Part of the problem is self-inflicted. Too often people create situations -- problems with co-workers, unfulfilled expectations. It can be difficult to look at the situation objectively; however, take a hard look and consider the source of your apparent dissatisfaction.

Before someone leaves a job, it is wise to explore all options and to remember the reason they chose the position in the first place. If those things still exist, then consider working around it. Lastly, to prevent problems in the future, be prepared for each interview, asks lots of questions, and don’t take the next job in a hurry without thinking it out.

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