5 Things To Consider for Your First Job
We all know the recruitment cycle is as (if not more) intense than the Hunger Games. You're anxiously refreshing your email inbox over and over to see if you were "the chosen one" among tens-of-thousands of applicants.
Yet, however, competitive it is to be selected by a company, I think it is just as important to think carefully about the types of jobs and companies you choose. So there are 5 Things to Consider When Picking Your First Job.
(1) Personality Fit
In many universities, there are one or two majors that always seem to have phenomenal connections to the working world and resources to help students gain career positions. One of the first things you can do to create a smooth recruiting process is taking a deep-dive into yourself.
What I mean is know what type of professional and student you are.
- Do you enjoy working on a set schedule or do you enjoy randomosity?
- Can you handle stress or are you someone prone to overthinking?
- Can you stand out among a crowd of 100 other incomers?
- Do you value a sense of adventure and the unknown or do you prefer formulaic well-practiced means of doing things?
(2) Work - Life Balance
I want to make clear that work and life are not mutually exclusive. In fact, some of your close friends may just well be your co-workers. However, as there are only 24hrs in a day, 52 weeks in a year, and 1 lifetime, we want to think about how we allocate our time between earning a living and living to our fullest potential.
You're a 20-year-old who enjoys having the late afternoon and evening to go out with friends for dinner or a social. On weekends, you love finding new places to hike or spend time camping!
Most likely you're someone who enjoys knowing when they need to be at work and when the work day ends. So...a career that requires you to be on call 24/7 at any hour of the day is probably not the best suited option.
If you're someone who thrives off of having a mission, a challenge, or a deadline who doesn't mind the grind and hustle or potential long-hours, then positions in careers like investment banking, private equity, and consulting might be just the thing to harness that go-getter attitude.
Moreover, work-life balance is also about weighing other components that you value whether that be health and fitness, relationships and family, travel and leisure, etc.
As someone who is embarking down the Private Wealth Management route, connections and building a network are invaluable for my career. Many first year financial analysts will head to the financial epicenter, New York, because of its name recognition, the prestige of working on Wall Street, and the network of other peers.
However, before checking that box, perhaps consider this question: What type of client or business do you want to work with?
In wealth management, this varies greatly from city to city. In San Francisco there is a huge tech-start-up presence; in Los Angeles, a movie star and celebrity huddle; in Texas - oil tycoons and energy suppliers; and New York - a strong international and "old money" presence. Characterizing a city based on the industries can help you to define a niche client profile.
Then you can pair your interest with the client and city.
Moreover, picking a city or location does not mean you are chained to it forever. Think of it more as a launching pad. The more comfortable you feel and the stronger you can build a foundation, the further the places you can go!
(4) Your 2-Year, 5-Year-10-Year Plan
As a college student, it is very easy to get caught up in the mind-frame of "I just need to get a job".
A BIG caution on that statement!
Why choose a job if you won't enjoy or learn from it in a conducive way?
While many programs especially in business and finance often have a 2-year lock-in period, it's also important to consider what happens after that end date. Think of your 2-year analyst period as a free trial to a subscription platform.
You want to see if you like the environment, the work culture, the projects you're involved in, and your team. Just as important is considering how these foundations you build during your first two years can either help or harm your future goals. There is no harm in taking a rapid shift your career, but also balance that with how fast you want to advance "up" or "across" the ranks.
Tying into our work-life balance component, does your intermediate-plan involve starting getting married, start a side-hustle, moving, starting a family, or grad school? You don't need an excel spreadsheet layout of your life plan, but keep these things in mind as you think about how quickly and in what direction you want to advance your work life.
(5) Gaining Experience Abroad
This tips is quite personal. As someone who studied International Relations Global Business, I saw the value of making my education global to gain perspectives from businesses and people around the world.
I had the opportunity to work in Taipei, Taiwan as a Global Fellows Intern in the summer of 2018. In examining trade relationships between China, the US, and Taiwan, I saw how each country approaches international commerce in various sectors, business forums, and in building relationships.
Our world is only getting increasingly interconnected with the power of social media and other integrative technology. It's important that we become globally-minded citizens with a sense and aptitude to be flexible in various contexts.
If you have the opportunity to study or work abroad during college through your university's various partnership programs, I highly recommend doing so. College is a time for exploration and inquiry. You can make mistakes and learn from trial and error with greater flexibility.
Even if you already signed onto your first job, like I mentioned in the (4) point, your 5-year plan could consist of working 2 years in your home office then shifting to a different location across the globe but within the same field to get a sense of how different countries approach the "same" task in unique ways!
I hope these few questions I posed are helpful in framing your mindset around how to be intuitive in choosing an internship or job. Remember that there is no formulaic path. Each person has a unique background and each step you take in your personal and professional life is a snowball effect of your personality traits, experiences, motives, and aspirations!