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5 Things to Seek in Your First Job

entry-level-jobsThere are many things a recent grad should look for in a potential employer. Some good questions to consider include:  What is the salary? How much of my health insurance is covered? Who will I be working with? What will I be doing? Is there room to grow in this company? Remember, during a job interview, you are interviewing the organization as much as they are interviewing you. You don’t want to say the something that could disqualify you from the position, but you should also pay attention for any red flags that pop up from the interviewer.  No matter what these red flags are, they should be taken in to consideration when a recent grad is deciding whether or not to take a job offer.
With all of this in mind, here are five things that you should develop in your first job.
Transferrable skills
Chances are, your first job out of college is not going to be the most ideal. You will probably be in an entry level position and maybe not in the ideal industry for what you want to ultimately do with your career. That does not mean that you cannot begin to develop strong transferrable skills that you can take with you throughout your career. This might be the single most important aspect a recent graduate can look for in a potential employer. At the beginning of your career, developing good transferrable skills is crucial. Interpersonal communication and critical thinking skills are vital to any job you will have throughout your career. Developing a professional reputation in the work place is crucial.  If you do end up in a job that is not ideal for your future goals, using the opportunity to develop good office and email behavior can be something that benefits you up to the next rung on your career ladder.
Develop good office etiquette
Recent grads who are taking on their first job may be much younger than their counterparts in the office. Learning how to relate well to others is crucial to your career development. Learning how to conduct yourself in an office or meeting second is crucial to your success. Many people turn to humor when they are nervous, but that is rarely a good thing to do in a business setting. In the business world, nobody respects a class clown. Don’t be that person in the office if you want to climb the ladder.
Compatibility with your goals
You may not be able to wait out the perfect job after graduation. Most people are forced to take a job that is good enough. A job that can pay the bills and start building a resume.  In the process you should try to find ways to build strong transferrable experiences that can help you succeed in what your ultimate goal. Even if a job that you take is not in an industry that is ideal for your goals, there are many things that can be learned from any industry. Take for instance a job selling General Liability Insurance.  This might seem like a dull industry where you are only going to be learning about something you do not ultimately want to be involved in. You can, on the other hand, develop strong interpersonal communication skills, how to communicate effectively via email and over the phone, how to manage a book of businesses and how to analyze risk. These are all skills that can be beneficial whether you want to work in finance or graphic design.
Being associated with someone who can give you good guidance is crucial towards your future success. Mentorship programs are a great thing to discuss in an interview. You will always get asked if you have any further questions. You should always have some questions that go beyond company benefits and job expectations. Asking about a mentorship program is a way that you can show a commitment to the organization. You may even use this opportunity to ask if you will eventually be able to mentor new employees. This is a way to show you are thinking about a long term position with the company.
Realize you are in an entry level job
When you start working at your first job after college it is important for you to remember you are an entry level employee. Regardless of whether you have a graduate’s degree or an associate’s degree, there are things you can learn from the people already doing the job. A diploma does not mean you have arrived. You still have a lot to prove and how you perform after graduation has much more to do with your career success than your diploma. The best way to address this situation is to look at your first 90 days as a continuation of your interview process. You have to prove yourself in order to get respect. With respect comes the opportunity for more roles and more responsibilities. With these additional responsibilities will come advancement or opportunities in other organizations. That is after all the ultimate goal.

Walt Capell started The Insurance Shop LLC in 2005. The Insurance Shop is a rapidly growing national insurance agency with a strong reputation for forward-thinking, out-of-the-box products and solutions for business owners. Walt would like to use his experience as a small business owner to benefit the next generation of leaders.

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