College graduation can be a bittersweet experience for most. You survived finals, eagerly tossed your notes in the trash, and are now ready to walk across the stage and begin the rest of your life. Except, now you’re faced with one more daunting challenge – finding the perfect entry-level job. Here’s some advice from us, to you – don’t sweat it! While it can be difficult identifying which companies will provide a rewarding recent grad experience, there are a few key characteristics you should look for.
As you evaluate companies you’d like to work for, don’t let group project horror stories from your college days sway you from team-based work. In fact, it’s a good idea to lean towards companies that prioritize collaborative working environments. Not only are companies that promote collaboration five times more likely to be high-performing, but it will be easier for you to build relationships while gaining exposure to a variety of different projects. While a company’s own website and social channels are good starting points for gauging their collaborative culture, you’ll get the most objective view from employee reviews on sites like Glassdoor. Sure, that ping-pong table in the break room is cool but their two-star employee rating raises some serious red flags you shouldn’t ignore.
Once you’re on the job, it’s important that you too understand the importance of collaboration and open communication. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, jump-in on projects with your teams, ask more questions, and be clear about what you want to learn from the job. Which brings us to point number two…
Really take the time to understand how the entry-level positions you have your eye on fit into your overall professional goals. What kind of projects will you be working on? What new skills will you pick-up along the way? Entry-level work should provide a solid foundation of experience and knowledge for the next step in your career. If you can draw solid connections between what you’re doing today and what you want to be doing tomorrow, you’re in a good spot. To bring it up a notch (and impress your manager) don’t be afraid to take the initiative and seek out additional projects and opportunities that go beyond your normal scope of responsibilities.
When researching companies, also be mindful of the learning and development opportunities they offer their employees. Most companies provide training of some sort, but you should favor the ones that go above and beyond with what they bring to the table. Whether it be attending conferences as a team, weekly “Lunch & Learns” or comprehensive development programs like we have here at IDR – the company you choose should value your growth.
Just as it’s important for you to have a clear plan for growth, so should your employer. Ask yourself if the companies you’re vetting have solid visions for the future and an actionable way to make it happen. In fact, this is a great question to ask during an interview – and the interviewer will likely be impressed you cared about the answer. Not only is a growing company more likely to offer you solid learning and leadership opportunities, but there will be more room for advancement as they build out their teams.
Take IDR for example. To realize our vision of being a continuous recruiting powerhouse and industry leader – we’re planning on growing our sales and recruiting teams exponentially within the next few years. It’s this plan for growth that leaves our current promotion rate at a whopping 32% for the year.
As you continue with your job search, just remember this: Never stop learning, growing or advocating for yourself. No matter what company you choose, as long as you take it upon yourself to ask questions, identify areas for growth and take advantage of opportunities when you see them – you’ll be just fine.
Interested in learning what a career looks like here at IDR? Take a look behind the scenes of our sales and recruiting positions!