13 Things Millennials Should Know Before Their First Real Job
According to a 2016 Gallup poll, only 29 percent of millennials feel engaged at work, while 16 percent say they are actively disengaged. If you're a recent college graduate entering the workforce for the first time, those numbers might not be inspiring.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to boost your odds of landing a satisfying position. You might need to adjust your expectations, however. Check out these tips for finding great opportunities and improving your odds of getting the job.
(By Tess Frame)
Build an honest resume
Above all, when you're creating your resume, it's important to be truthful about your educational background, professional history and skills. Embellishing or lying on your resume can come back to bite you, either costing you the job in the interview or getting you fired down the road.
Showcase your skills without being dishonest by highlighting what you can bring to the job you want. For example, you can describe your excellent customer service and communication skills instead of simply listing that you were an office assistant or cashier.
Utilize your personal connections
When you're job hunting, it can sometimes feel like the good jobs only go to people who have an inside contact. It might not be a coincidence.
Go through your network of family members, friends, friends of friends, past professional contacts, schoolmates and teachers. Research the industries and companies each person is part of and then start making some phone calls and sending some emails. Let people know you are a recent graduate looking for a job in their field. They might be able to provide you with recommendations or help you get interviews or, at the very least, some good advice.
Expect every job to involve some grunt work
Research the company you’re applying to
Before you show up to an interview, read as much as you can about the company. Find out what the company does, what it stands for, how it got started and who the head honchos are. Make sure you understand the duties of the position you're applying for so that if you're asked any specific questions about the job, you know how to answer them. You'll stand out if you can compliment your interviewer about an article she wrote or say you recognized one of the company's executives from his TED talk.
Know how to fill out a W-4
Know the difference between net and gross income
Know the basics of a professional wardrobe
Ask smart questions during your interview
Asking questions shows your interviewer that you're interested in the company and have thought about the job seriously. Ask questions like:
- What have employees in this position done to succeed or move forward in the company?
- What type of career opportunities are available through this position?
- What do you enjoy most about working here?
Avoid questions about vacation time, consequences for coming in late or what the company does as it might show your interviewer that you're not the ideal person for the job.
Have a bank account ready for direct deposit
Open a checking account with a local or national bank or credit union and make sure you are able to be paid through direct deposit. Many banks offer incentives or remove fees if you set up a direct deposit to your checking account.
You can also link a savings account to your checking account and set up automatic savings transfers, budget plans and more through your financial institution. Having a bank account before you start your new job can make the transition to full-time work smoother.
Be aware of maintenance fees
Some banks have yearly or monthly fees, such as maintenance fees. These are common bank fees you can avoid. Read the fine print before you open an account so you know of all fees and restrictions associated with it. Knowing what fees to expect can help you prevent future frustration or avoid getting surprised by costs down the road.
Know your commute and plan for traffic
Have a positive and professional attitude
Keep your long-term goals in mind
Remember that this is your first job, not your last. If you land a job and can't see yourself staying there long term, just think of it as a stepping stone on your career path. Learn everything you can from the people around you, make strong network connections and develop useful skills for your next job.
You can alleviate fears or nervousness about your first interview or job by being as prepared as possible. Approach every opportunity as a learning experience and take what you can from it. Ten years later, you'll likely still be relying on something you learned from your first job, whether it was how to present yourself or how to maintain a good attitude.