Young woman running with a folder, representing graduates rushing into their first job offer
Image: Pepperer85/Shutterstock

Why graduates shouldn’t rush into their first role

1 Aug 2018

For new graduates looking for their first role, it can be easy to rush into the next step, but Hays’ Robby Vanuxem is here to tell you why patience is important.

Graduates Month

It’s not uncommon for graduates to feel impatient about entering the working world having left university or college. After three or more years of higher education and student debt, it’s understandable that so many are keen to begin earning their own way in the world.

However, research shows that a majority of graduates around the world regret accepting the first job that they’re offered. An eagerness to avoid any sort of gap on one’s CV has led to many graduates rashly accepting either the first or second job offer that comes their way.

While a keenness to enter the working world is admirable, rushing yourself into a role that simply isn’t suited to you is not.

In doing so, you’re guaranteeing that sooner or later, you’ll have to take a couple of steps back further down the line in order to enter the industry that’s correct for you; or worse, you’ll end up irrevocably stuck in a job that provides you with no job satisfaction.

With that in mind, here are a few things to consider before accepting your first job offer.

Employers need graduates

It takes just a few months for the aforementioned majority of graduates to realise that they are in the wrong job. However, an incredible 43pc admit to taking on the role because at the time they felt it was necessary to take any job available. This sentiment is irrational, as studies show that in many countries around the world, graduate employment is at an all-time high.

More graduates (also on higher salaries) are being seen in the UK than ever and 97pc of US graduates are able to locate a job suited to their expertise; while in China, many graduates are turning down top-paying graduate jobs in search of positions that prioritise the working environment and quality of life.

This is all evidence that there is an abundance of graduate positions out there. It’s just a case of knowing how to find these roles, how to apply for them and being patient.

Refine your job search process and be patient

The job search process can often be frustrating and exhausting. However, there are many ways to cope effectively with rejection – the key message is not to give up.

Some mistakes that you might be making in your job search include:

  • You are exaggerating the truth
  • You are applying for every role that you come across
  • You aren’t tailoring your applications
  • You look unprofessional on social media
  • You weren’t persistent enough

Take a more measured, strategic approach to your job search. Rushing the process only leads to fatigue, which will provoke you into taking the next position you’re offered, whatever that might be.

Think five years ahead

A common tendency among graduates is to obsess over big-name brands. Don’t settle for a poor job offer just because it’s coming from a household brand name.

This is a large part of why so many graduates end up regretting their choice and leaving their first role after only a few months. Think about the broader picture and assess what size company might be appropriate to you.

It helps to have a fixed idea of your ambitions and goals. Reminding yourself of these goals often will help prevent you from deviating away from the required path. Save yourself time and energy by constructing a five-year plan.

  • Where do you want to be in five years?
  • How are you going to get there?
  • How are you going to know when you’ve arrived?

Having such a strategy and sound understanding of where you want to go in your career will help focus you in your job search. If you’ve properly assessed where you want to be, then you’ll be in a lot more certain a position when considering job offers, meaning that you’re unlikely to make a decision you’ll later regret.

Give yourself a chance

In stark contrast to the graduates who regret taking the first position they’re offered is the fact that only one in 20 regret attending university or college.

This proves that graduates don’t regret their chosen field of expertise, they regret not continuing their professional career in that field.

The information provided in this article articulates that you have a much better chance of making a livelihood in your preferred industry than you think. It’s just a case of knowing where and how to look, and having patience.

By Robby Vanuxem

Robby Vanuxem is the managing director of Hays Belgium.

A version of this article originally appeared on Hays’ Viewpoint blog.

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