5 things you MUST consider before choosing a graduate role

If you’re graduating this summer then good news: you’re part of the population who are entering the jobs market at a time where candidates are very much in demand. You’ve probably already been sending out applications, speaking to recruiters and even attending interviews – but when the offers come flying in how do you know which graduate role is the right one for you? Here’s a few things to consider:

Company Culture

As soon as you apply to a new company chances are you get a glimpse of their company culture – be it on their Social Media Channels, Careers Website or even as you walk through the office on your interview. Joining a company culture that fits you will be key to you actually enjoying this role, so try and find out as much as possible so you can make an informed decision. Ask yourself questions like:

Do they offer flexible working?, Do they go for beers on a Friday?, Do they work to agile methodologies, Do people leave at 5pm or is everyone in the office late?, Do they give space for creativity or do they work to strict deadlines? etc.

You will start to build a picture of what life in that company is really like, so you can decide if that’s right for you or not.

Working Environment

A lot like company culture, working environment is really important – after all this office will be where you spend the majority of your time!

Do they have an open plan layout or will you be shut off in your own office? Do people work in silence or is their a Spotify playlist to work along to? Do they have on site café and gym? Do you have spectacular City views?

Weigh up the pros and cons of each role and think which role you could picture yourself in every day.

The job itself

Even if you’re in the coolest offices with a company culture that is the perfect fit for you the matter of the fact is if the job isn’t right then you’re not going to enjoy working there. You should get a good idea of what your day to day responsibilities will be from the original job spec, but it’s always good to dig a little deeper in the interview too. Try and find out about any specific projects you may be working on, what software / applications / tech you will be using and what will be expected of you when you join. If you can find a job that you enjoy then it won’t even feel like work!

Salary and Benefits

That student loan won’t clear itself so a good salary has to be up there with your decision making process. Don’t be lead to choose the role offering the most money without weighing up all the options though – think about the benefits too! One role may be offering £28K, but the role that offers £25K plus pension, gym membership and company car could work out better for you financially. Again don’t be short sighted – one role may offer a lower starting salary, with better route to progression that could get you more money in the long run!

Location

Trust me I’ve had jobs which involved 3 different crammed tubes and a sprint through Camden to get to work on time and I’ve also had jobs with a 4 minute stroll from my apartment to my office – I know which commute I prefer! The commute will become part of your life so be wise before being talked into an hour journey every morning just for a slightly higher salary! Location isn’t just about the commute, consider other factors e.g.

Do you have rural countryside views?, Is there a lively bar you can head to when you finish on a Friday?, Is there a Pret a Manger nearby? etc.

The location has to work for you!

Go with your gut

Have you weighed up all of the above and still don’t know which job to choose? Unfortunately these decisions aren’t always black and white – your friends, your parents and your recruiters can’t tell you which one to go for (although they will probably try!). At the end of the day you need to go with your gut – chances are if you have weighed up all of the above you’ll make the right choice, if not don’t worry! A job isn’t a life sentence and there will be plenty of companies who will snap you up 12 months down the line if you do decide to leave!

Sophie Heaton (Employer Branding & Social Media Manager)

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