It’s important to find a job that matches your passions, skillset and career plan. Most importantly, it’s important to find a workplace that is fun and allows you to grow personally and professionally. But how do you know all of that when all you see is a basic job listing and a jazzy company website? In this post, I thought I’d break down the types of things graduates should look for in a job and how to find it.
Job listings don’t show the whole picture, so when going for a role, you need to do some more research. This will involve heading to the company website and reading more about their offering, the current team, and what their ethical stances are (e.g. do they do much for the environment or local communities, this is also known as Corporate Social Responsibility).
What do other graduates look for in a job?
Before I go into that, I wanted to share some other graduate perspectives. I asked people on Instagram what sort of things they look for in a graduate role, and the themes of personal development and company culture featured quite a bit. Other comments were:
- Training available in the role
- Ethics of the company
- Opportunities to learn and try new roles
- Diversity and inclusion
- One that allows growth and developing new skills
- Companies that are in exciting times in their industry
- Company culture
- The reality of the role
- Honesty of the company
- Work/life balance
- The people you’d be working with
- Flexible working (working from home opportunities)
- Career progression
So I wanted to delve a bit deeper into how you can check out a company before signing any contracts. Here are four key tools to use when looking more into a company:
*Please take all of these points and the information you might find with a pinch of salt, the internet is an easy place to lie so it may be inaccurate.* These are simply some ways that you can find out more than just what the job description tells you.
Obvious, I know! Before you apply for a job, you should check out the company’s website and see what sorts of things they share on there. You might be surprised about what you find, from their corporate commitments to flexible working options. Most companies have a ‘Careers’ section where they may detail what it’s like to work there too.
You can learn a lot about a company from their website, and it’s a good idea to take notes from this so that when interviewing, you are familiar with their key services, values and more.
LinkedIn is a great way to see who works at a company and the sort of following the company has. Of course, not all companies are on LinkedIn and that’s not a bad thing it just means you can’t do any more digging!
LinkedIn allows you to see the people that are currently employed at a company too. This is a good way to see who you’d be working with, the different teams/departments and take a look at their careers so far.
I explain more about this in my post about how to use LinkedIn as a graduate, but essentially it’s a good idea to click onto some of the current employees and see how long they’ve been in their position and what their responsibilities are. If you want to go further with your digging, you can take a look at the types of training the employees have done which could suggest that the company really invests in their employees by either offering training or allowing them the time to complete it.
Glassdoor is a website that lets you see reviews about a certain job, salary expectations and specific companies. It’s all anonymous so you have to take things with a pinch of salt but it can give you a little bit of insight into what the company is like to work for.
Again, some companies aren’t on Glassdoor or people haven’t shared any other reviews than a basic ‘decent place to work and good pay’ so you can’t learn much from it.
If you Google that company name, what sort of things come up in the press? Are there lots of news reports about brand successes or community efforts? Or is there lots of negativity about the management and something they’ve done in the past?
Remember to not take everything you read at face value and make your own decisions about what this could mean for your role.
Don’t be scared of giving it a go
It’s really good to try a lot of things as a graduate, so don’t be put off a company if they don’t match all of your criteria. Maybe the hours are a bit longer than you’d like, that may just be a sacrifice you have to make. Or maybe they don’t offer any home working (although I’m not sure who won’t after the last 5 months!), it might just be something you have to grin and bear.
Sometimes we can fall into jobs that don’t work out or properly align with our career aspirations, but the experience is really good to have. Try to take the positives from jobs that don’t work out and get as much as you can on your CV before moving on.
So there are a few ways you can investigate a job more in depth than simply scanning a job listing. It’s really good to understand what graduates should look for in a job and how you can find them. Setting out some key must-haves in jobs can really help when looking for employment.
What’s something that you look for in a company when applying to jobs?