Whether you’re looking for a paid or unpaid internship or an entry-level job, finding a great position goes way beyond the job description. From company culture to opportunities for growth, there are several things you should keep in mind when deciding between potential employers.
Here are the top things to look for in a company.
1. Do the company’s values align with yours?
One of the most important things to consider when researching potential employers is how their values align with yours. This is because working for a company is about a lot more than just the hours you put in each day. It’s about knowing that the company values some of the same things you do (like honesty, integrity and hard work) and understanding how those values match up with your own. Whether it’s finding a company with a model you admire or one that takes environmental action seriously and donates money to prevent global warming, you should feel that you and your potential employer stand for the same things and that you can build a lasting relationship.
2. Does the company culture fit your personality?
Many employers list cultural fit as the most important thing they look for when interviewing candidates, and you should put this at the top of your list too. For example, if you’re more comfortable in a relaxed environment than a conservative one, then a company with a corporate culture might not be a great fit for you. Before you sign that offer letter, take the time to assess how you’d fit in at the company and how the company culture would fit you.
3. Are the team members people you’d love to work with?
Whether it’s an internship or a full-time job, you’re going to be spending a lot of time with your new co-workers so it’s important to make sure that they’re people you’d like to work with. This goes hand-in-hand with cultural fit and it’s something you should be aware of when considering a new opportunity. The average American spends around one-third of each weekday at work, so having co-workers you get along with is a key part of being happy at your job.
4. Will you be offered opportunities to learn?
Having the chance to learn new things is important in any position, but it’s especially important during the early stages of your career. For that reason, finding an internship or full-time job that allows you to learn as much as possible is key to the development of your career.
5. Is there room for growth within the company?
In addition to offering you opportunities to learn about the industry, a great company should also offer opportunities for advancement within the organization. This is even more important in the case of internships and entry-level jobs because the opportunity for a promotion (or a full-time job) is a great incentive to learn as much as possible and prove your commitment to the team. The exception to this is if you’re not looking for a long-term opportunity but are looking to gain experience for a year or two before going to grad school.
6. Will your managers make you feel appreciated?
Feeling appreciated is an important part of any life experience, but it’s especially important in your working life. While this doesn’t necessarily mean that there should be company-sponsored happy hours or free weekly lunches, it does mean that your employer should make you feel valued by offering positive feedback and supporting your efforts to learn and improve.
7. Does the company offer security and stability?
One of the most important things a company can offer its employees is a secure and stable environment. This doesn’t just mean a regular paycheck (although that’s part of it), but also a proven history of steady success and a sense of job security. Although it’s unrealistic to expect smooth sailing all the time, a solid track record is a great indication that the company can provide you with the type of environment you need to succeed.
8. Does the company set you up for success?
Although a lot of your professional success will depend on you, there are several things an employer can do to set you for a great outcome. This includes everything from in-depth training to goal setting and regular feedback, factors that are especially important as your begin your career.
9. Will your role teach your transferable skills?
In addition to offering training for your current role, a great company will set you up for future success by teaching you transferrable skills that you can use in your next position. When applying for a job, ask yourself what you can learn from the role and don’t be afraid to discuss training opportunities and skill building during your interview.
10. Will you be challenged in a positive way?
Being challenged to learn and to grow is one of the key markers of a great company. In fact, getting out of your company zone is one of the best ways to learn new skills and to find out who you are as a professional. Look for companies that make you feel enthusiastic about taking on new challenges and offer the support you need to turn those challenges into wins.
Whether you’re embarking on your first job search or your fifth, finding a company that will provide you with great opportunities requires some research. By following these tips, you’ll be sure to find the right fit and to give yourself the best chance of success.