This blog post was written by University of Illinois Campus Ambassador Lauren Hannigan.
Your phone rings from an unfamiliar number. You answer and get the news you have been anxiously waiting for... After tireless amounts of work and effort, you finally achieved the goal you have been working for and received a job offer! All of the classes you have taken, interviews you attended, and stress you handled have lead you here. You rush to tell all of you friends and family and they all ask you the same question, “Are you going to accept it?” The bubble you have been riding on begins to slowly lose air. You ask yourself, is this the job I really want? Can I actually see myself working here?
Many people are extremely lucky and end up getting their dream jobs. They get the offer and immediately accept, because they know that this is what they have wanted to do their whole life. Then there are the rest of us. You get the job offer and actually have to contemplate taking it. Or you are lucky enough to have multiple offers and have to choose one. This can be an incredibly difficult decision that can have a long-term affect on your life. As scary as the process is, there are some helpful ways to figure out if the job is right for you.
· The People: By the time that you have the job offer, you should have met multiple people in the organization. Think back on all of the encounters you have had. Did you genuinely like the people you met? Could you see yourself working closely with them? It is incredibly important to make sure you would fit in with the people you meet.
· The Culture: One of the biggest aspects of any organization is the company culture. The culture drives every aspect, from the hiring process, to the daily tasks, to important company wide decisions. You have to find a place where you feel like you will be accepted and comfortable. If the people you met did not inspire you or make you feel relaxed, do you really want to work there?
· Make Contact: If you feel you did not get the chance to talk to as many people as you would like, ask the recruiter to put you in contact with a recent hire within the company, or someone who works in the specific department you would be working in. Write down questions or concerns you have and talk them over with the individual. This is a great way to not only learn more about the company, but to discover more about the culture.
· Discover the Work: Another important aspect is to figure out what kind of work, projects, and responsibilities you would have if you started working there. Figure out exactly what is YOU want to be doing. It is not wise to walk into a job having a very vague idea as to what work you will actually be doing. The job may require you to do something you are not comfortable with, like analytical research, and this could make you end up regretting the job that you took. Keep in mind that you are going to have to get up early every day and go to this job for hours on end. If there is no excitement to go and do your work, the job is not for you. The job we do should be rewarding and challenging and this fact is something to keep in mind.
· Weigh the Benefits v. Risks: It is important to think about all of the other aspects associated with the job. Do you have to relocate? What is the commute like? What are the benefits of the job? Does the job offer any bonuses like helping to pay for their employees’ education? Make sure to keep track of everything that is offered and see if it aligns with your future goals. The future will be here before you know it, and you have to see if the job will help you get to where you want. Your first job should be a springboard for the career you eventually want.
While getting a job is exciting and a major accomplishment, you have to remember that you overall need to make yourself happy. Write down what it is that you want out of a job, and ultimately make sure the company will provide you with those opportunities and aspects. As cliché as it is, you need to trust your gut. If the job matches everything you want, accept the offer! If the job does not meet your criteria, reject it. Keep your head up and continue to work, and you will lead yourself to the job that is right for you.