The first two years after graduating can really accelerate your career so in many ways, accepting your first job is an important (but daunting) decision.
Step one and probably the easiest thing to do, is to research the company you want to work for. In this day and age, the most obvious approach is to to scan the company’s website. This will give you a good indication of what the company does, the calibre of its clients and its approach to work. As websites are generally targeted at marketing and sales, scanning the website alone can fall short of demonstrating the company’s culture. In general, their socal media pages give a better indication of the culture. Better yet, nothing beats chatting to people who work for the prospective employer to gauge their opinion.
If you are looking for a specific or niche development role, then there are a few more things to look out for. One of the most important factors that should be further researched is the ability for you to gain skills through transferable knowledge-sharing programmes. Your first job should provide a platform for you to start building a successful career. The best start would be to gain a few generalist skills, which can be applied anywhere. In this way, you will still be able to alter your career path at a later stage when you’ve worked out what you are passionate about – let's face it, most of us don’t know this when we start our first job!
Look for companies that are using industry best-practice technologies, processes and methodologies and have peers that will help to elevate your game. Tied to this, consider a role that will give you the most valuable experience for the time that you are there. Avoid duties where you will be doing only repetitive tasks – you don’t want to have five years’ experience with those five years made up of you having the first year’s experience five times over!
Lastly, and possibly most importanty, find a job that you enjoy – one that you feel passionate about and want to work at.