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The professional world can be an uncertain place, especially if you’re fresh out of college. If you’re like most people, you likely went to college right out of high school. For years, your life revolved around receiving an education in one form or another. Because of this, it can be shocking when recent graduates dive into the professional world. What should you look for in employers? What should you expect? While you’re applying for jobs, you want to make sure that you’re applying somewhere you’ll be happy working. Here are a few things you should look for.

Compensation and Benefits

One of the first things you should look for when applying for a job is the compensation and benefits you’ll receive from the company. You’re not applying just because you want to—you’re applying to get paid. After all, student loans and other bills won’t pay themselves off, and many people get their insurance through their company. Look for a company that will compensate you well for your time and gives you the necessary benefits to survive. 

Development

Eventually, you’ll want to develop within your career. Whether that means learning new skills or vying for a promotion, finding a job that’ll give you space for career development and advancement should be one of your priorities. Look for a company that’ll let you grow, listen to your ideas, and give you the chance to network with others in your industry. You should have the opportunity to strengthen the skills you already have and build new skills that you didn’t have before applying for the job. Most importantly, the job you find should let you use what you learned in college and show that you belong there. 

Culture

No one wants to work in a job that has a toxic business culture. Not only is that an environment that’s miserable to work in, but it can be detrimental to your mental health if you’re in a toxic environment for too long. The job you apply for should be a place where you feel you’ll get along with your new peers. Everyone should be willing to work together when necessary, communicate clearly and well, and coexist in a relatively stress-free environment (beyond what’s expected of the job itself). If you don’t believe you’ll be happy with a company’s work culture, don’t be afraid to leave it behind.

Khoa-Nathan Ngo