11 September 2023
How to Choose Your First Job
If you’re reading this, you’ve probably started looking for an internship or placement. For some of you, this might not be your first time knocking on corporate’s door (work experience etc). But for many of you, it is.
Choosing your first job can come with many emotions and confusion. The working world is vast and can be like a game of Tetris at the beginning. However, it’s also a very exciting time and the coolest thing about it all? You get to pick.
That’s right! You might think that because you’re a newbie, you’re not allowed options.
You are. Here are six ways to choose your first job.
- Think about your skills and interests
- Location, location,location
- Social-stalk potential employers
- Does the company’s mission align with your goals and aspirations?
- Ask the right questions
- Read reviews about the company
Think about your current skills and interests
This is probably the first place to start.
Maybe you did a summer internship, attended an insight day or even spent a week doing some work experience. What skills have you learned during your education? Those will give you an insight into the types of roles you’ll apply for.
Also, think about your transferable skills. You’d be surprised how many roles might overlap with your area of interest which might not be directly related to your degree.
Need inspiration? Find out how to add skills to your application.
Location, Location, Location
With new jobs come new experiences. This might mean moving out of the family home and making it work in the big city.
London might be a hotspot for dozens of industries, but many companies have opened offices in other big cities and towns in the UK. So you have options.
You’ll need to ask yourself a few questions. These can include whether the potential salary is enough to pay rent, or if you can commute to the office from your current location instead.
If you want to move to a big city, look for jobs in those areas. Maybe set your searches within a few miles of a city – it’ll be cheaper to live further out than in a city centre. If you want to be closer to home, look at what’s available in your local area.
Social-stalk potential employers
Office culture is super important and makes all the difference.
Let’s say you’ve applied for a role and everything checks out experience-wise. The cherry on top would be finding out the office you could potentially work from has a playroom and free lunch on-site rather than grey walls and zero breakout areas.
Instagram is an excellent place to check when it comes to finding your first job. Employers use the app to show off their office culture and the fun things they do for their employees.
If you haven’t created a LinkedIn account, get one. It’s another great place to see what companies are doing and engage with their content.
LinkedIn is also great because it acts as a virtual CV. You can add all your experience in one place and even get endorsed by previous and current colleagues for the skills you have.
Got LinkedIn? Nope? Not to worry, we have a fully comprehensive guide to getting set up. Click below.
Does the company’s mission and vision align with your own goals and aspirations?
More and more of your peers (70% to be exact) seek employers who align with the causes they care about. These can be many things but include:
- Ability to advance their career
- A good salary
- Employee benefits
- Commitment to diversity and inclusion
- Commitment to sustainability.
If that sounds like you, it’s worth researching the companies you’re interested in applying to in-depth. More and more businesses are being transparent about the initiatives they’re involved in and how they plan to improve certain aspects of the business.
Think about what you want from an employer, and go from there.
Want to know more about Corporate Social Responsibility and what it might mean for you? Click below.
Asking the right questions
If you’ve already applied for a job and need some extra assurance, you’re making the right choice – use an interview.
Asking questions at the interview stage is a really effective way to a) show you actually care about the role you’ve applied for and b) get to know the company and its employees a little better. Some examples of questions include:
- What do you enjoy about the company?
- What does a typical day look like?
- Can you tell me about the company culture?
- What characteristics are you looking for in an employee?
- Can you describe the career progression for someone in this role?
Read reviews about the company
Reviews are fantastic because they are written by people like you. Regardless of whether it’s an internship, placement or even an insight day – reviews will give you an unbiased view of what it’s like to work for a company.
Luckily for you, we have over 70,000 student-written reviews filled with everything you need to know about your potential employer.
At the end of the day, you know yourself best.
If you feel really enthusiastic about a company and the role, apply. If you’ve applied for a role you’re not sure about, or if it doesn’t feel right – it’s okay to withdraw your application and find somewhere else.
Working in a role you enjoy for a company you love is one of the finest feelings in the world. And you deserve that.
Looking for a job for the first time can be overwhelming, but your dream role is out there. Remember to be kind to yourself during the process.
If you’re ready to make that leap, good on you! We have loads of great application and interview tips to set you apart from the rest. Click below to get started.
Written by Melchi
Melchi is a stan of the written word and joined the RateMyPlacement team as a Content Executive in 2021. Melchi started his career writing culture content for WeAreCollision magazine before completing an MA in International Journalism at City University and interning at Insider Inc. He now uses his head-thesaurus to write inspiring content to help young people make great career choices. These include everything from blogs about how to survive your placement year to industry guides outlining the latest placement and internship opportunities. Outside of writing, Melchi loves all things music and is currently learning how to DJ.