So last month, I started a series on this blog about my experience and tips on figuring out what I want to do after I graduate this May. This particular post will cover researching jobs or graduate school. I am going to talk about what I have done and will continue doing in order to find the job or grad program that is right for me.
If you have not read the first installment of this monthly series, click here.
As of right now, I have decided to put off graduate school, at least for awhile. I have been in school since I was five years old, and I think it’s time for a break. I’m still going to give you tips if you are in the process of looking at graduate programs, but this post will be slightly more focused towards job hunting.
Here are my tips for researching jobs or graduate programs.
1. Figure Out what You Want.
It’s a little cliche, but it’s also an important step. You don’t want to waste time looking at jobs or programs that you will hate. You don’t have to decide what you want to do your entire life. Just think of how you want to spend the next few years, what you want out of a job or grad school, or just how you want your day to day life to go.
Example: I really want to work for myself, in a creative field, and have a flexible work schedule. So, I will be looking for jobs that will get me toward that goal as quickly as possible.
2. Location, Location, Location.
Is there a particular place you want to live? Would you prefer to live at home, close to home, or across the country? Keep that in mind when looking for jobs or grad schools. Even if you don’t have a specific city in mind, think of what sort of climate or environment you want.
Example: Since I want to work from home, my options are pretty open regarding location. However, I plan to live at home so that I can save money. If I have to pay rent to my parents, it won’t be as steep as for an apartment. The only exception would be if the only jobs I find require me to be somewhere else.
3. Opportunities for Growth.
Whether you are entering grad school or the workforce, you probably want to have some idea of the opportunities you will have. Is there a good chance of promotion at your prospective company? Will you get good work experience in your grad school program? These are things that you should think about.
Example: I want to eventually be my own boss, so if I have to take a job with a company, I want it to give me experience in various areas of business. Will I have a chance to work on more than one thing? That is important to me.
4. Money Matters.
If it’s grad school you’re considering, what’s the cost? Will you need to take out a loan? Can you find a job as a graduate assistant? Can you find some sort of grant?
If it’s a job, what’s the pay? How does the pay compare to the work expected of you? Does the job offer any benefits like health insurance or company-paid items?
Example: I want to find something that can make me $3-5 K per month, starting wage. If it’s my own business, then I hope to make that after the first 6 months to a year. If I do take a job, I want one that offers full insurance coverage.
5. Daily Schedule/Work Assignments.
What will you be doing every day? If it’s grad school, will your classes be lecture-based or hands on? If it’s work, will you be doing the same thing day in and day out? What do you prefer?
Example: I want to have some variety in my work. As much as I enjoy writing, I don’t want to do that all day long. I want to write and edit and post on social media.
6. Time commitment.
Will you be expected to work overtime? Will you have a lot of credit hours to juggle? If you like having free time or you need to work your way through graduate school, or both, you need to take note of that. That way, you can avoid a job that requires a lot of overtime or a full course load when you need to work a lot.
Example: I don’t mind working overtime occasionally, as long as I am doing something I enjoy. I would be willing to spend time outside of office hours working on writing an article or designing a graphic for a social media post. I wouldn’t like working overtime on something like taxes.
7. The People.
This is true with any new environment, and especially with one that you hope to be in for awhile, but you should try to meet some people. Set up a meeting with a professor in your department or ask if you can walk around your potential office.
It is much easier to work or get through school if you are with people that you get along with.
Example: If I do work with people, I want to work with people who trust me to get things done on time. I don’t need or want too much supervision. I don’t need hand holding, and I want to work my way.
Going to graduate school or starting your first post-college job is a big deal. The decision between the two is also big. It’s a decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly, and you should do what you can to make sure you choose the right school or job for you. Yes, you can change jobs or career paths, but it is just so much easier to start off right.
Researching your potential schools or employers is a smart and relatively easy way to make the right decision for you.
Thanks for reading!