A lot of people look at a job and a career as the same thing, but they aren’t. A job is usually where you work, such as “I work at Google,” whereas a career is your profession such as “I am an engineerÂ.” Chances are, you will not have your ideal job right away because you are probably looking for a job that will bring tons of money, happiness, and power. If you are one of those people who is looking for a successful career, here is what you should be looking for in your first few jobs:
Size – you may like working for a small company, but it’s in your best interest to work for large companies with thousands of employees. Think of it as a networking opportunity because the more people you get to know on a personal level, the better chances you have for success in the future. If you decide to work for a large company at first one of the easiest ways you can network is to get to know one new person a day.
Title – instead of taking a job based on pay, you should think about taking a job based on your title. You may get paid more as a mid level engineer at Boeing, but it is probably better to take a management position at Exxon even if it pays a bit less. In the future you are more likely to get better jobs if you are an engineer and had a management position compared to if you were just an engineer.
Opportunities – your potential isn’t unlimited, it is actually limited by your job. Some companies will not allow you to go to industry conferences or even create your own blog, which will hinder the growth of your personal brand. The last thing you want to do is take a job that will hinder your future and limit your options.
Flexibility – some companies only allow you to work on specific things while others like Google let you do whatever you want 20% of the time. If you can find a firm that is flexible enough to take in your creativity and let you do whatever you want 20% of the time it can tremendously help your career. Wouldn’t it be great to say that you created X for company Y on your resume?
People – let’s face it, you are whom you surround yourself with. If you surround yourself with successful entrepreneurs then hopefully one day you will be a successful entrepreneur. It is easier said then done to surround yourself with great people, so make sure you get a job that is filled with tons of smart and talented individuals.
Environment – the atmosphere at your work place will affect how you perform. Working in a fun and entertaining environment will probably make you more productive compared to working in a dull environment. This may not make sense, but you are more likely to work harder and longer when you are having fun.
Management – hopefully your boss will not be a pain in the ass. It is important to work for someone who is fun, encouraging, and most importantly still gets the job done. There will be times when you need something from upper management and the only way you will be able to get it is by going through the chain of command.
These are just some of the things that should affect which job you take in the short term because it will have a big impact on your career and your future goals. Whatever your career goals may be, don’t think about how you can obtain them now, instead think about what you can do so you can reach them 5 to 10 years from now.