When I was looking for my first job out of college, I wasn’t picky.
I didn’t care what kind of company it was, what industry it operated in and I didn’t even really care what I did. This is probably why my first job was in HR at an organic pork farm.
I was so focused on just getting a job and being independent that I didn’t take the time to research my options and determine what would most likely set me up for success later on.
This is a mistake I still see a lot of people making; and it’s not just recent grads.
It’s tempting to take an offer in an industry you don’t care about, at a company you’ve never heard of, for a role you don’t really understand because you need to get experience and pay the bills.
But if you take a little time to figure out your ultimate career goals when job hunting, instead of taking whatever you can get now, it will pay off down the road.
So where do you start?
First; figure out what industries you’re into.
Think about which industries you get excited about and would like to work in. If you’re not sure, set up some coffee dates with people in industries you’re interested in, check out an industry event or read some trade publications. Once you target a few you’re interested in, you can narrow down the companies you should go after.
Next; research companies within those industries.
Look at the main players, mid-size companies and start-ups in each industry and determine which culture is right for you.
Sites like Glassdoor help with this by giving job seekers unbiased reviews from real employees about what it’s like to work at a certain company, insights about salaries and benefits, and even what the interview process is like. When you start your job search, sites like these are a great starting point to see if the company is inline with your values and what you’re looking for in the long term.
Lastly; find the right opportunity within a company.
If you target a specific company and know you want to grow there, it’s ok to take a role that’s more of a stepping stone to your actual dream job. But remember, when you do get enough experience or figure out your ideal role, don’t settle. Go for what you really want, whether that’s at your current company or outside of it.
You can afford to be a little picky because it will ultimately lead to your dream job. If you’re not, you may find yourself jumping from job to job over the years and not really getting anywhere.
If you have a general idea of where you want to go in your career, before you make any major decisions, ask yourself, ‘Could this job help get me where I want to be?’ If you’re struggling to answer this question, then it’s time to be a little picky.
Have you been picky in your career?