There are few decisions in life as exciting and emotion-ridden as choosing your first post-college job. This is what you’ve been working for throughout college, and it’s finally here! You’ll have your chance to enter the workforce and show how much you can give. Surely, you’re excited to get started.

Unfortunately, excitement notwithstanding, the decision can get confusing quickly. There are so many factors to consider when choosing a job; how do you know which ones don’t really matter much and which are really important?

shutterstock_443078926Here’s a handy guide of important factors to keep in mind as you embark on your job search.

Ignore the pressure

Yes, we know this is easier said than done. But, when you’re feeling pressure to land a job from all sides, it can easily cause you to compromise. It’s best to take a step back, tell your friends, family and professors that you’ve got the job search under control, and try to make your decision from a cool, collected place.

Consider the company culture 

When holding up various options for employment, you’ll be considering the various responsibilities connected to the position, and of course, the salary. While those are important factors, don’t forget to consider the company culture as well.

If you land the job, this is the environment you’ll need to work in every day. Ask current employees about the company’s atmosphere. Is it too stiff and formal for you to do your best work? Is it overly casual? Do team members work well together, or is there a thread of competition running through the office? Is the big boss open to suggestions and comments, or is she a distant, feared figure?

shutterstock_579082669Think about the future

You’re under pressure to get a job NOW, but it’s best to think long-term when seeking a position. Will the job you’re considering offer you the opportunity for growth? Is there room for you to expand your responsibilities or to move to another position within the company? While your first post-college job is unlikely to be your last, it is an important stepping stone. Make sure it offers you the opportunity for some growth.

Consider the skills you’ll be using

Ideally, you want a job that will play to your strengths and talents while offering the opportunity to expand your skill set. You don’t have to love everything about your first real job, but be sure to choose one that helps you build your skills while offering valuable experience in your chosen field.

Happy job hunting!

Your Turn: Have you just landed your first post-college job? Share your job-hunting tips in the comments.

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