This is an issue that has nagged me on how I should advise my daughters.
Jim Citrin wrote an article on this in Yahoo Finance.
(My thanks to Free Money Finance, (www.freemoneyfinance.com), one of my must read personal financial management blogs, who pointed us to this article.)
Mr. Citrin says that the key to a blazing start would be :-
a) Choose the right first job by
i) Going blue chip, i.e. choosing a major corporation to work for. This will help establish your brand, as you will be associated more with the company you work for rather than the job that you do.
ii) Follow your passions,
iii) Pick your boss carefully,
iv) Focus not on compensation. The payoff will come later.
b) Get off on a great start by
i) Maintain a positive attitude,
ii) Work hard
iii) Deliver on your commitments
iv) Do completed staff work, i.e. go beyond the rote to understand why something is asked for and how it will be used when completed.
v) Focus on the success of others. Look for ways to be helpful. Be proactive and be willing to do extra or unpopular work. Keep focused on the goals of your boss, your team and your company.
(My wife and I have always been driving the idea to my children of starting their own businesses. So whilst any career option should be merely a stepping stone in this direction, we agree that our kids should start off with a career and they should start it right.)
To fuel a great career start, I am completely in agreement with the suggestions listed in (b).
However on (a), it may not be immediately possible to latch on to a “blue chip”, or to know enough to be able to make a wise choice of the boss.
Rather than to keep rejecting job offers that may come, I would advise my children to take an opportunity that pays reasonably, and is aligned to their passions / interests.
Then they should :-
– focus on adding value to the employer. (The five items of list (b) are a great guide for this.)
– Polish and improve their own skills. Learn as much as they can. Pick up new skills, get additional certification, join an association, and build up their network.
I think this would be great starting blocks for their career.