Whether it's figuring out which job to take, how much money to ask for, or what to do if they can't find a full-time position, new college graduates likely will face a number of difficult and trying situations as they transition into the working world. How they handle those conundrums could impact the course their career takes.
To help first-time job seekers, staffing firm Robert Half has uncovered six of the most common challenges new grads will face, and offered tips on how to handle them.
- If I have two jobs of offers, neither of which is my "dream job," how do I decide which one to take? It is important to remember that most new graduates aren't going to land their dream job immediately. Consider your first job more of a first step toward that perfect position. Instead of focusing on the salary and title, consider how well did you connect with your potential boss and whether the organization is stable and offers room to grow. Pick the job that's a better fit in terms of people, culture and industry.
- Can I negotiate my salary? Even if you only have one job offer, you can still negotiate the salary. However, it is critical to make sure you are negotiating based on hard data and industry research. Don't just pick a number out of thin air. Be sure to research what others in your situation are being paid before you start asking for more money. In addition, some hiring managers might not be able to pay more. In those cases, see if there are any other perks you might be able to negotiate on, such as schedule flexibility or more vacation time.
- If I can't find a full-time job right away, should I take a temporary position or internship? Yes, you are better off doing some type of work, than nothing at all. Just because you take a temp job or an internship doesn't mean you can't keep looking for a full-time position. However, by doing some type of work you are giving yourself a chance to build your network and skills. Additionally, depending on how you perform, that temporary position or internship could eventually turn into a full-time job. [See Related Story: What Skills Should New Graduates Have?]
- Should I accept a job offer that pays less than what my friends with a similar degree are making? While you can try to negotiate your salary offer, it is important to not compare yourself with others. You never know the exact situation your friends are in. They could be getting paid more because their job has them working 80 hours a week for a difficult boss. Try to focus on whether the job you are being offered is good for your long-term career prospects.
- Should I take a job my parents think I shouldn't? While it is important to consider your parents' advice, be sure to balance it with input from someone within your chosen industry who can advise you. Try to find a professional mentor who will look at your job opportunities from a more objective viewpoint. Research from Robert Half found that 86 percent of executives believe having a mentor is important for career development.
- If I feel like I've made a mistake after starting a new job, should I quit? Every new job takes some getting used, so it is important to not make a rash decision. You want to figure out what the true problem is. Is the position different than what you expected? Is the job overwhelming? Try keeping an open mind. Being flexible and having a positive outlook can be helpful when adjusting to a new job. Before making a final decision, talk to a mentor who can provide some advice on how to proceed.
It is important to remember that landing that first job is only the first step in what will hopefully be a long and successful career. Paul McDonald, senior executive director at Robert Half, said in order to advance to the next level, new grads should constantly be thinking about the skills they will need to further their career and have a plan for acquiring them.
Ready to start your job search as a soon-to-be graduate? Visit this Business News Daily guide for more tips.