Entering the workforce in pursuit of a career (as opposed to just a job) is an exciting and overwhelming time. If you have just graduated, you may have anxiety about choosing what you want to do with your future. After being in school since you were in kindergarten, you might be eager to accept the first job that you are offered to avoid the lack of structure. When I wanted to move to Boston from Providence after college, I interviewed for one company, was offered the role, and accepted. Unfortunately, I did not slow down long enough to contemplate the pros and cons of accepting a job such as this one, considering whether it was the direction I wanted my career to go in, or think about the day to day aspects of the position.
I left the company after about five months. While I learned a lot and do not believe in regretting things that make you who you are, I wish that I had committed more to finding a position that catered to my skills and interests. If you accept a role you are not excited and passionate about, your bosses will notice, your coworkers will feel it, and your work will suffer. Happy people are successful people. So, here is my advice on why you should not automatically accept the first position you are offered.
Take it slow.
You do not have to accept the position on the spot. Although you may be stoked to have received the offer, there are lots of logistical and economic aspects to consider. When you receive a verbal offer, it is important to ask when they expect an answer by. This should go without saying, but make sure you will receive a written offer and carefully review all aspects so that you fully understand what you are getting into. This isn’t the same as getting a job at Dunkin’ Donuts, and agreeing to a full-time job is a much different commitment than your high school part-time summer job, or the internship you did sophomore year of college. If you can, have a second pair of eyes review the written offer and discuss it with them.
Is it the job you want?
Take it from me, a former recruiter, employers and hiring managers prefer to see consistency rather than a lot of switching of industries and job titles. While it is not the kiss of death if you do switch (and can be spun to show that you’re multifaceted), it is important to understand that your choices hold weight. If you end up in an industry or position that you don’t understand and aren’t interested in, your time at the company will be limited.
Consider the culture.
When you are in the interview stages, it is important to understand the vibe of the company. What is their management style? Are they more team-oriented or would you be working individually most of the time? Is there a high turnover rate? Once you get the answers you need to get a clear picture of what it would be like to work there, your next step is to consider if the culture aligns with your values. The job search goes both ways, not only is the employer considering you, but you are considering whether you want to work for this company. Do you agree and believe in their mission, or you more money oriented? Understanding what you want and need will help ensure you are making the right choice.
It won’t be the only offer you get.
Don’t accept an offer simply because you are scared that you won’t get another offer. If you don’t consider what exactly you want then your longevity at the company will be compromised. It is okay to take a deep breath if you are on the fence, and to either counter or turn down the offer. Be confident in your strengths and understand that you will add a unique value to the company that is right for you.
The number one thing to consider is whether you are excited about the role and not merely excited about getting an offer. You do not want to wake up every morning dreading the day ahead of you, hating your boss, and not believing in the purpose of your role/company. It is better to wait for the right opportunity than to accept the first role you get and leave after a miserable six months. If you do that, you will have to start the job hunting process over again.
Accepting a job is such an exciting experience! If you have any tips for finding the right job from your past experiences, let us know down below!