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5 things to consider before taking up your first job
Sunder Ramachandran
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September 27, 2007

Starting your professional career is one of the most important stages in an individual's life. Finding the right career path after your formal education can have an impact on your overall career path and growth rate.

Once you start appearing for interviews you quickly realise that unless you are well connected, most employers are looking for experience to back up your education. Also, without education, employers expect to pay you a lower income than you actually deserve.

Here are some of the options that you must evaluate when you come face to face with this reality:

Take some time off
The urge to start working once you finish your education is compelling. However, take some time off to evaluate a few options. Reward yourself before starting a new chapter of your life which is full of challenges.

Go on a vacation or spend time pursuing a hobby that you neglected due to the demanding course that you just completed. This will give you the time to think of possible career options and ensure that you don't end up following the herd.

Stay in school
You can pursue higher education and continue studying. This will help you become more knowledgeable and employable. Srue, this means is that you are postponing not having a job, especially in your field. On the other hand, obtaining an additional certificate, such as a Masters degree can increase your starting salary.

Employers would expect you to be smarter than the average person because of the extra years spent educating yourself. More Educated = Bigger paycheques.

Join the workforce immediately
If studying is not for you, you could start working right away for a lower income on the basis that you will gain hands-on experience. This will allow you to climb the corporate ladder through standardised promotions.

This choice fits very well within the personality of many professionals who like to take things one step at a time. As a fresher, you may not land the plum job profiles so you have to be mentally prepared to take up an entry level, low-value job at first.

Become an entrepreneur
A riskier way to undertake one's professional career is to start an entrepreneurial venture. This is the riskiest of them all, but also the most rewarding professionally and possibly financially. A lot of willpower and determination is needed to pursue this endeavour, and often some start-up funds might be needed to see your ideas materialise. Prepare yourself to face many obstacles. Being an entrepreneur is a lot riskier than the conventional job routine and there is guarantee of a regular salary once you start out. But if you are confident in your abilities and brave enough to face the disappointments, there is no reason you will not gain success.

Use your networks and contacts
The last and least difficult option is to use your contacts within a corporation, which will ease your entrance into the work team. This might not be the most rewarding at the beginning, but consider that about 80 per cent of jobs are obtained using one's contacts in his network. This does not mean that you are less qualified; it just means that you have to live up to your professional expectations all the more.

Plan the transition
As soon as you finish your college education, you've got your mind set on one thing -- making money. Be smart though. If you get a great job offer right after graduation; take it, because years of learning are only useful if you have an opportunity to prove yourself.

If you don't, all you will have to show for is a head full of concepts and a nice diploma. A major decision like this one will affect the rest of your life and should not be taken lightly, which is why planning must be put into the equation.

Write down all your strong and weak points to determine the best suited position for you. This simple exercise will allow you to find out where you want to be in the future and how to get there efficiently.

Now that you are armed with the tools you need to land that first job, go out and convince the real world that you are ready for what the professional world has to offer.

The writer is a Managing Partner at WCH (We Create Headstarts) Training Solutions; a New Delhi based corporate training and consulting firm. He can be reached at sunder@wchsolutions.com.


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