In today’s post, I wanted to share a few key work values for graduates to consider when job hunting and thinking about their career progression.
There are a lot more values to consider in the workplace, but the below is a starting point. You might not find all of these to be that important to you, however, it may allow you to think further about your work values.
So here are five key work values for graduates that can get the ball rolling.
The salary and compensation
The amount you get paid for your work matters. Of course, we’d all love to receive a big salary for the work we do, but that’s not always the case.
More money doesn’t always equate to a better job, so it’s important that you factor in how much money you need to live and whether a smaller pay-check for a more fulfilling job will work for you.
In some lines of work, we can receive other recognition for our efforts that can make up for a smaller salary. It all really depends on what you want from a job and the money you can survive on.
The salary should not be the only consideration for a job. A graduate scheme might have a starting salary of £55,000 but you might hate it, and no amount of money can make up for unhappiness and always living for the weekend.
How much it challenges you
When choosing a particular line of work or specific role, it’s important to assess whether it will challenge you as much as you’d like. Some of us like to have a job that doesn’t push us out of our comfort zone, while others are always looking for a challenge.
Work out how much of a challenge you feel you’d thrive under and try to find an industry or role that meets that. There’s nothing worse than being in a role where you don’t feel like you’re always developing, or constantly feeling like you’re in too deep.
As I will outline shortly, progression in a company can also help to solve this problem if you don’t feel challenged. You may find more challenge if you are given a promotion so it might be worth holding on and working toward the next level.
Respect for the line of work
It’s one thing to find a job that you enjoy, but having respect for the job and industry is another important factor. When finding work, which is of course proving a lot harder at the moment, you should look at a company’s ethical stance to make sure it aligns with your own values.
For example, if you’re a vegetarian or vegan you might feel quite conflicted and burnt-out if you end up working for a meat production company. Or if you’re someone that doesn’t particularly like working with children, a job in a primary school would be a mismatch to your values and preferences.
It’s hard to be picky at times with jobs, but in the long run working for a company that doesn’t align with your values and beliefs may be detrimental to your work and progression.
Who you work with
A lot of companies prioritise hiring based on cultural fit – will you as a candidate fit within the team? It can be a total blessing to find colleagues and managers that align with your way of working and, importantly, that you get on with as people.
However, one crucial question to ask yourself is if you work better as an individual or in a team. Ask yourself that classic interview question and really think about the answer.
Some people work better on their own projects, where they don’t have to worry about other people assisting and can take full ownership of everything. Whereas others really thrive in a team and work well in shared tasks and embrace that sense of collective working.
This is all down to personal preference, but can be just another thing that can lead to burnout and not being satisfied with your work. Have a google of industry related roles and whether they are individual or team based working – you’ll find that it can vary a lot from company to company.
Ability to progress
Another key value to look at with working is how well aligned a certain role is to your career plan. If you want to progress but there doesn’t seem to be much scope for progression at that company, see if there’s another way that you can progress by gaining experience for a new position that’s a step up.
As young professionals, we all have to start somewhere and work our way up. So it’s important that you don’t get disheartened if you’re not CEO of a huge firm within a few years (I know, it sucks!). However, it’s helpful to know where you could be in a few years if you stay at a particular company, compared to another.
You can find out what progression is available to you by looking at current employees at the company, using this LinkedIn trick.
So there you have a few ideas that could get you thinking about some key work values for graduates. There are a whole range of other things to consider in your career, from the amount of downtime you get to the level of respect your job earns. You can find a lot more great ideas for key work values in this article.
What is the most important thing to you in a job?