A look into what factors influence one’s personal criteria, and how one can use their own personal criteria to enter the workforce post graduation.
Defining Personal Criteria
As business students, particularly business students that will soon be business graduates, it is important to identify and embrace your personal criteria when choosing a job post graduation. If you take the time to identify the characteristics and qualities of a job that are most important to you before you even begin searching for a job, it will be much easier to identify these characteristics in job listings and weed out the jobs that don’t fit your personal criteria.
We’ve all been there: spending hours scrolling through jobs, trying to find one that fits our needs. Reading a job listing all the way to the bottom just to realize that they are not the job that you are looking for. When you haven’t taken the time to form an idea of the exact criteria that you are looking for in a job, you will spend way too much time scrolling through these listings and reading job descriptions that don’t even fit your personal criteria.
In this post, I will be going over some of the important questions you must ask yourself while defining your personal criteria, as well as providing my own answers to the questions to provide a glimpse into my own personal criteria while searching for a job.
1What criteria do you have regarding the location of your job?
Most people have an answer to this question straight away. This is because most of the time, people have an idea of what kind of life they want to live, and location can play a huge part in that. For me, location is extremely important. I want to work for a company that is located in the triangle area. This is because I want to raise my family in the same area that I was raised in. I have lived in North Carolina for my entire life, and though I enjoy the occasional trip out of state, my heart will always belong to North Carolina.
2What is your ideal starting salary, and what is your eventual salary goal?
This is another extremely important thing to consider when entering the job market. For some people, salary isn’t that big of a deal, but for others it is the reason they chose the field that they chose. I am planning to go into Human Resources Management post graduation, so for me salary will vary depending on what area of Human Resources I choose to go into. Salary isn’t a huge factor for me personally, so it won’t have much of an affect on where I choose to work post graduation.
3Is company culture important to you?
In today’s world, many companies pride themselves on their culture. A company’s culture can be summed up by its goals, values, attitudes, practices or anything else that represents who they are as a company. Many people want to work for a company who’s culture lines up with their own personal goals, values, and thought processes. I like to think that I have a pretty open mind, so I would be open to working with companies with different kinds of cultures. If I find a company who shares my own personal mind set, I would be more inclined to work for them, but for me culture is not a make or break aspect of my personal criteria.
4Are you okay with having to travel for work?
Many people dream of having a job that will allow them to travel and see different parts of the country or even the world. Working in Human Resources, there are job opportunities that may require me to travel frequently for work. Personally, I would prefer to not have to travel for work, as I want to eventually have kids and I do not to be gone for long periods of time.
5What does your ideal schedule look like?
Some people like the ideal set work schedule, where they know what days and times they will be expected to work each week. Others, however, enjoy the flexibility of an ever changing work schedule with hours that differ from week to week. For me, the idea of a set work schedule, working the same days each week at the same times is the most appealing situation. I currently work a job that has set hours and I enjoy knowing when I am expected to be at work so I can easily plan other aspects of my life around my work.
6Are you okay with working weekends?
There are some jobs out there that may require you to work on the weekends. This means missing out on other things that may be happening on the weekends. For some, this is no problem, while others won’t even entertain the idea of working on a weekend. I fall someplace in the middle. I would prefer to only work during the week, but if the occasional need arises for me to work on a weekend, I would not mind.
7How do you feel about overtime?
Some jobs will ask their employees to work overtime more frequently then others. This means working your regular hours, and then also working extra hours to meet the needs of the company. I am alright with having to work overtime occasionally to meet the needs of the company, but I don’t think that I would enjoy having to work overtime on a regular basis.
8What kind of benefits are you looking for in a job?
Most full time positions offer their employees some kind of a benefits package. This can include health insurance, vision, dental, 401K, retirement savings, and many other things. It is important to know what benefits you are looking for in a company. For me, the most important benefits are going to be health insurance and retirement planning. This means that I would want to keep my eyes open for job openings at companies that excel in those benefit areas.
9Are you looking for a company you can grow with?
Many college graduates aren’t picky when they are applying for their first job out of college because they know that if it isn’t a great fit, they can always move to another company later on. Others want to start and end their career with the same company. For me, growth is important, as I wouldn’t want to start with a company in a starting position and then never have an opportunity to advance any further from there. My goal is to work my way up from an entry level Human Resources position to a higher Human Resources position.
10Do you want to work for a company with multiple locations?
Many companies have more than one location that they work out of. Many people seek out these companies so that they have the flexibility to move around later on without having to worry about starting over at a new company. A company that has multiple locations have the potential to transfer their employees based on the needs of the company or the needs of the employee. For me, whether or not a company has multiple locations is not a huge factor of my personal criteria, as I do not plan to move anywhere far away from where I am now.
11What kind of work would you prefer to be doing?
For business students, the kind of work that they could be going into post graduation can vary depending on what kind of business degree they have earned and what their personal goals are. I am getting my Bachelor Degree in Business Administration, and I am concentrating in Human Resources. This means that I could get a job that only requires a Business Administration Degree, or I could get a job that is focused in on Human Resources. I want to go into a Human Resources focused job, which means that I will then have to narrow my choices down even further and decide on which area of Human Resources I want to work in. This will be important for my personal criteria because I will want to make sure that I am choosing a job that will meet the expectations I have for my ideal job description.
12Do you wish to work for a bigger company or a smaller company?
This is another important factor when choosing a job. Some people prefer the community feeling of a smaller company, while others want to experience the corporate feeling of working for a bigger company. Having worked for both big and small companies in the past, I would have to say that they both have their pros and cons. I wouldn’t mind working for a big company or a small company, but I don’t want to work for a company that is too big or too small to meet the needs of my personal criteria.
13What is your ideal management situation?
It is important to know what management style works for you when you are searching for a job. Some people work better when they have a manager that is on top of everything they are doing, while other thrive in an environment where management allows them to take on a little more responsibility and works with them at a distance. Personally, I prefer to have a set of guidelines to follow, a manager to report to, and the freedom and autonomy to do the work that I was hired to do without having a manager overseeing my every move.
14What are you looking to get out of the work that you are doing?
Knowing what you want to get out of a career opportunity is important in finding a job that is going to be the best fit for you. If you are looking for a job with the intent of gaining experience it may be easier to find a job. If you are looking for a job that you can grow with and work your way up in, it may take a longer time to find your perfect fit. You may be looking for work that excites you, fulfills you, or just simply allows you to put your degree to use. No matter what it is that you are hoping to get out of your job, it is important to know this ahead of time. I am searching for a job that will leave me feeling accomplished at the end of each day, I want to go home with a sense of purpose and fulfillment from the work that I am doing. I also want to help people, which is why I chose the Human Resources field.
15Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I feel as though we get asked this question a lot as business students, but that is because it is important for us to know where we want to be in the future so we can actively work towards our goals. You want to choose a job that aligns with your future goals. In 5 years, I see myself working at a job I love as a Human Resources Representative. I don’t know what area of Human Resources I want to go into yet, but once I decide it will become a part of my 5 year plan. I want to be financially independent at that point, and will hopefully started taking steps towards purchasing my first home.