At some point in your college career you will be searching for either an internship or job. This process is far from easy and is a lengthy, exhausting process. Whether you are graduating soon or looking to gain some experience in your field, the job search is fast-paced, competitive, and very exciting. In this blog post I will be explaining the steps I took to decide which job I wanted to accept upon graduation, and I hope this post can help someone out who is in a similar position.
I have been lucky enough to receive multiple job offers during my job search, but these did not just fall into my lap. I was proactively searching and applying for jobs far more than any of my friends, and I believe this gave me an advantage. I started early (early February for a May graduation) before many people had even begun their search. This is one point I touched on with my last blog post, try to apply early before your dream position is filled! There were many other steps I took to get my name out there. I went to the job fair, I applied to positions on multiple databases, and reached out to relatives and friends who may have known of available positions. This is how I found the companies I was interested in and got my name out to employers.
One thing I learned recently was how beneficial Spring Break can be in the job search. Yes, I understand most people would rather be laying on a beach or going on a road trip, but if you are like me and are not able to indulge in these experiences you should make the most out of your time on break. After networking with employers online and through the job fair, I scheduled in-person interviews during Spring Break when I knew I had no class and would be closer to these companies. Over my Spring Break I attended 4 in-person interviews, one phone interview, and one Skype interview. Seems like a bit of overkill, I know. Not everyone needs this many, but I was proactive, curious, and wanted to see what was out there. Also, I had nothing better to do. Setting up these interviews early is crucial in the job search because you show your initiative and drive by reaching out to companies long before graduation.
This is where the fun began. I ended up receiving four offers for jobs, and I had mixed emotions about this. Yes, it felt good to know my skills were wanted in the workplace, but how would I ever decide which one to take? This is where reaching out to all the resources you have available will benefit you. I made my decision by looking at each job from every angle. I thought about the environment of the workplace, do I feel like I would fit in? What is the typical age of others in my position? Next, I put compensation and benefits into consideration. I could understand the salary and commission pieces, but I didn’t know a lot about benefits and insurance, so I reached out to my mom and had her read it over and tell me what she thought. Since many of us students have never had a full-time job, we may know little about how good the benefits are, so it is a good idea to reach out to someone who has been through it before. I also put geographic location into consideration. Where can I see myself living? What is the cost of living in each of these areas? Do I have any family or friends in this area? And of course, you have to consider the type of work. Where do I have experience? What kind of work do I enjoy? Can I see myself moving up in this company? There are definitely many things to consider, and this made my choice very difficult.
I think the question that made me think the most and ultimately helped me come to my decision was, “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” This made me think about how long I could see myself staying with a company, and if I could see myself doing this for a while, and it was something I hadn’t thought about very much. To come to my decision, I reached out to my parents, brother, friends, and spoke with a counselor at UMD Career and Internship Services, and altogether I got a variety of viewpoints and opinions. All of these viewpoints, combined with me thinking through each of the questions I stated above, helped me come to my decision. Ultimately, you are the only one who knows what you like, so you have to make the decision. It is also important to keep in mind most people do not find their dream job straight out of college. If you realize this is not the job for you, you can always begin the job search again.