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Get on the right track with your first job


Landing a first job is the first challenge in any career. For some fortunate graduates, the challenge is how to choose among a multitude of job offers. Here are a few tips on how to make the right choice.

Here are a few tips on how to make the right choice.

Points to consider

There are a few points you should consider in order to make sure your first job doesn’t start you off on the wrong foot and damage the rest of your career. Your first career steps are very significant because your experience will weigh more heavily in the balance than your education when you apply for another job.

Salary, work environment and opportunity for advancement are all factors that should be taken into account. But most important, in the view of many career consultants, is skills development. When you take your first job, you should always ask yourself what skills you want to develop and which job will help you do it. The goal is to gain work experience in your field, an essential first step towards subsequent career advancement and recognition.

Your own priorities

Developing your skills is not the only important consideration. You may have several job offers that would give you the opportunity to learn. In this case, you have to look at other factors based on your own priorities, such as corporate culture, working conditions, your attitude towards the company’s mission, career prospects, and opportunities for advancement.

You may also want to consider how much responsibility you will have. This is largely a matter of personal preference. Some people are eager for a challenge and want to take on as much responsibility as possible, as quickly as possible. Others see their first job as a chance to gain confidence; they may be better off in a position where they can take on responsibilities gradually.

Salary is also a significant consideration but it is important to remember that the experience you will gain on the job will increase your “market value” when you apply for your next job. You should not make your choice primarily on the basis of salary, but there is nothing preventing you from negotiating for the best possible salary when you take your first job.

Note that this advice applies only to your first job. Afterwards, you should expect to be paid for your experience.

To err is human

Even if you conscientiously apply the principles listed here, you might still end up making a choice you will later regret. The situation is fixable if you quit at the right time, in the right way and for the right reasons.

The important thing is not to stay in a work environment in which you are not comfortable. You won’t achieve your best performance if you are working under unfavourable conditions, and you may end up with poor references early in your career. That is a stigma that can follow you for a long time.

It is easier to explain why you quit your first job soon after you started (for example, you made an error in judgement, you misunderstood the nature of the job) than to explain away a poor performance with the same reasons.

Employers are more flexible on these matters than one might think. They realize a person can make a bad choice.

You should weigh your reasons for wanting to leave, though. If it’s a question of money, you should think twice. It might scare off prospective employers in the future, making them doubt your loyalty.

Define your priorities

Here are five factors to consider when applying for your first job. Which are the most important will depend on the individual.
– Opportunities for skills development
– Working conditions
– Responsibility
– Whether you want a long-term career with the company
– Salary