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How to Choose your First Job Out of College the Right Way

Updated: May 17, 2019

How to Choose your First Job Out of College the Right Way, article by Dr. Nadine Greiner PhD, Executive Consultant San Francisco

We all have different career trajectories.

While many individuals fret about their first job out of college, the reality is that only the minority get it right. About 5% of individuals pick the “right” job on the first try. In fact, people who switch jobs are more likely to rise the ranks to senior management. So, rather than fret about finding that “perfect” job, it’s best to evaluate companies based on a few select criteria.

1. Learning and development opportunities

In all likelihood, your career will span decades. Over the course of your working life, select skills, jobs, and even careers will become obsolete, while others will emerge. To ensure your continued relevance, it’s essential that you focus on learning and development. By continually enhancing your skill set and areas of expertise, you’ll be able to remain relevant and valuable as a working professional. You’re also more likely to remain engaged and feel fulfilled by your work. Millennials gravitate strongly towards learning and development opportunities.

2. Prioritize coworker relationships

You spend the bulk of your days with your coworkers. Your coworker relationships make for a more engaging work environment. The strength of your relationships with your coworkers can improve your overall quality of life. Research reveals that employees said colleagues’ support helped them through a life crisis (including, for example, a challenging pregnancy and caring for elderly parents). When your career spans decades, high quality of life is a powerful antidote against burnout.

How to Choose your First Job Out of College the Right Way, article by Dr. Nadine Greiner PhD, Executive Consultant San Francisco

3. Evaluate prospective employers’ brands

Your employment history follows you and affects how hireable you are down the road. There’s a “halo effect” associated with certain employers. Faced with a stack of resumes, most hiring managers gravitate to the candidates who worked at well-known, reputable organizations. Most of the time the bias is unintentional, offering a warm feeling of familiarity like the brand preferences we all exhibit at the grocery store. So, avoid companies who have scandals or bad PR.

George Eliot once remarked, "It is never too late to be what you might have been." Selecting your perfect job right out of college is akin in rarity to winning the lottery. Rather than agonize about finding your ideal job match, focus on prioritizing potential employers based on learning and development opportunities, coworker relationships, and brand reputations. By doing so, you'll be more likely to find yourself in an environment that will prove engaging and invigorating and that will serve as a potent stepping stone to future lucrative job opportunities. Bear in mind Aristotle's wise words: "Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work."  


Dr Nadine Greiner PhD, Executive Coaching in San Francisco, CA

Nadine Greiner, Ph.D. provides Executive Coaching and Human Resources solutions. Her mission is to make the executive experience exceptionally enjoyable and effective. She believes that the world needs great leaders, and has dedicated her career to helping them.

As an organization psychologist and former corporate CEO, Dr. Nadine understands the pressures and demands executives face. She offers her clients the high expertise that only comes with three decades of consulting success, and a dual Ph.D. in Organization Development and Clinical Psychology. Dr. Nadine is an in-demand speaker, teaches in doctoral programs, and coaches other consultants. She is the author of two books: ‘The Art of Executive Coaching: Secrets to Unlock Leadership Performance’, and of ‘Stress-less Leadership: How to Lead in Business and in Life’.

Contact Information: Feel free to email Dr. Nadine San Francisco Executive Coaching at or by phone at (415) 861-8383.


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