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What Fresh Grads Should Consider in a Company

If you’re reading this article right now, chances are you’re the lost fresh grad panicking at the thought of job hunting. But we’ve all been there. So before you start hyperventilating, we’re here to ease the weight on your shoulders and guide you through the whole process.

Aside from the job descrip itself, here’s a list of things to consider when you’re out scouring companies and potential employers.

The “must haves” and “nice to haves”

This is probably the most basic part of a job: security and stability—the most practical factor (and at times, boring) but the most important. First things first, you have to look into what your needs are right now. So clear your head and strip everything down to the most essential such as salary, benefits, location, and working hours. Think about your budget, livable expenses, and lifestyle. Think about the possible commute, work set-up, schedule, and work-life balance. With that, let this basic scope be at the top of your hierarchy of needs and the forefront of your job search.

Now that that’s out of the way, look at the company’s perks because the basics aren’t all there is to it—it’s only a bare minimum. Think about what else a company may offer and how competitive those perks are. A company’s benefits say a lot about how they care and treat their employees, away from just standard. It can be seen through great health plans, leave policies, bonuses, wellness programs, or even free lunches. An example would be Mondelez Philippines who offers benefits and health plans that cover family members of their employees and provides COVID-19 vaccines to all of their people. 

Make sure to have clearly defined boxes to check out and make sure not to delve away from that, unless you have a good reason to!

Tip: If you’re having trouble setting your standard, try doing some research by comparing job listings. Most of the time, all this info will be readily available to use as a reference. And another tip is to simply talk about it with your family, friends, or acquaintances! Don’t feel embarrassed to open up a conversation on salary and benefits because both of you can really benefit from it.

The values and company culture

More than just grinding for the hours, you want to work in a place that’s comfortable for you. Think about what would be a great fit for you and bring out the best in you. Do you like a casual environment, or do you prefer a formal one? Do you work well with a fast-paced setting, or do you want something flexible? Do you feel better working in smaller companies, or do you have your sights set for a large corporation? Do you want collaborative projects, or do you like working solo? Do you want to be thrown into the fire, or do you want mentorship and training before anything?

In the same way that every student has different learning styles, you also have different working styles to achieve the best results. And usually, this is innate to know at least a gist of through all the years of schooling. 

Alongside the work environment, it is the company’s values itself. Look into the company’s goals and reflect them back to your own career goals and values. Are these in any way aligned with you? Through this, you get a peek into whether you can build a relationship with this company. No pressure, of course! This doesn’t have to be all charity, advocacies, and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) efforts, but that part DOES say a lot about the company too. For instance, Mondelez Philippines is a member of the Philippine Financial and Inter-Industry Pride (PFIP) to strengthen its diversity and inclusive culture, particularly for members of the LGBT+ community. They champion female leadership as well to further instill representation across the board. Alongside that, they also provide opportunities to work with colleagues from across Southeast Asia and globally. And if that is something you aim for then go for it!

Maybe you’re part of the LGBT+ community and want to work somewhere that puts importance on diversity. Perhaps you’re a woman in tech hoping for workspaces that are not all male-dominated. Or maybe you’re a creative that wants to be in a workplace that allows out-of-the-box, innovative, and unique ideas.

Try to find a workplace that’s not only sufficient to work in but also fulfills you and brings out the best in you. 

Tip: These are often ideals you might not see from the onset, so turn these into the questions you ask at the end of the interview. This helps you imagine yourself working for the place and puts a good impression on the employer who sees you’re truly interested. If you can, try to read through company reviews from the job hunt sites or look through a company’s official socials and websites for background.

The opportunities for growth and learning

One of the reasons people resign from their job outside of the above factors is feeling stifled in their workplace. They might feel like they’re not moving forward, or given the opportunities for advancement. Since you’re at the early stages of a career, there is so much you can learn, so it’s crucial to find a company that allows for that sort of development. Take reference from Mondelez, who provides learning development programs for people starting their careers through the Leading EDGE Business Challenge (competition for college students), EDGE Sparks (internship), and EDGE Stars (graduate trainee) programs. While also providing a 70-20-10 framework where 70% is learning on-the-job, 20% is learning from others through coaching and feedback, and 10% is learning programs and studies for development. 

Most of the time, fresh graduates are still figuring out what skills they can hone and find out who they are as professionals. And although professional success is still in your own hands, the company can also nudge you in the right direction with your career goals. It’s not all about your current state and skill set but going for a company that allows you to go beyond that. This can be shown through the challenges and projects they might have, the opportunities they aim to give, and the support and training they may offer. Companies tend to publicize these things the most so you can do your own bit of research in that regard.

As advised by Aileen Aumentado, People Lead for Mondelez Philippines, “Look for a Company that helps you grow – professionally and personally.” This tells us that growth in your career is not all about professional skills but also about widening your perspectives and making you a better person. She continues: “The saying is that we should never stop learning and growing. It keeps us on our toes and always forward-looking. When deciding which organization to join, you should keep in mind what growth benefits and opportunities are available for you; where you can ‘Make it’ as a professional and as an individual.” 

Tip: If you’re interested in a job but aren’t 100% qualified, you can at least show your potential to learn and what you can bring to the table. So, while you’re doing cover letters and interviews, highlight possible other experiences related to the job, such as school clubs, organizations, volunteer opportunities, group or class projects, or hobbies. Try to bank on your soft skills and show your genuine interest. 

And if possible, why not customize your resume and cover letter for every company? It doesn’t have to be completely redone every time, but a few lines here and there won’t hurt to tailor. 

 

Take care of your mental health

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