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College Grads: What Should You Look for in a Company?

As a recent graduate myself, I know all too well about the immediate fear that ensues following the excitement of graduation day. It’s a day you’ve been preparing for your entire college career, yet it hits you so unexpectedly. Afternoon naps and catching up with friends after class become distant memories, replaced by the 8-to-5 norm.

While this change may not be ideal, each student has an impending responsibility to follow the 3 Gs:

  • grow up,
  • graduate
  • and get a job.

Given the current market conditions, finding a job isn’t always easy, but they are out there – you just need to be persistent and decide which one is right for you.

First off, go ahead and wipe those dollar signs out of your eyes, because I have a truth to reveal: It’s not all about the money. While you’re picking up your jaw off the ground, let me explain. As you begin your chosen career path, it is important to consider a company that offers opportunities for growth, training and mentorship. Think of the salary and benefits package as the cherries on top.

Companies that encourage exploration and are willing to help young professionals with continued development should be top contenders. Here at Paycom, employees are encouraged to expand their horizons. For example, last month, a colleague from our payroll department spent several hours in the marketing department learning our processes and observing how we operate. Opportunities for growth abound at Paycom, which is what shot it to the No. 1 slot on my list.

While you’re out hunting for gainful employment, keep these five further considerations in mind:

1. Growth – Right now, it’s all about experience, so the more you have, the better your résumé will look. Consider working for a company that wants you to expand your horizons by pursuing projects outside of the workday.

2. Training – Diploma or not, education is never over, nor should it be. Companies that offer training programs, class reimbursement, seminars and workshops should be more attractive to you. With ever-changing marketplace demands, constant learning is extremely valuable. Overall, it will make you more knowledgeable, which puts you in a higher position on the corporate ladder.

Paycom empowers its employees by offering ongoing training classes in all areas, including products/services, goal-setting, leadership and other skill-strengthening topics. During a recent training titled “Think Like a Champion,” Jim Quillen, Paycom’s director of new client setup, said, “All things are created twice.”

By this, he meant that you should always take the time to consider your thoughts because they eventually become your actions. This put things into a different perspective for me, especially at work. A positive thought translates into a positive action, and this is something I consciously consider every day.

3. Services – You’re probably wondering why this matters. As long as you have a job and are getting paid, you’re golden, right? Wrong. Try to find a company that provides products/services that you believe in, too. It will make going to work more enjoyable and you’ll be more willing to work late or extra hours when the situation calls for it.

4. Mentorship – Mentors are your best friends at work. They are a resource of knowledge and experience, and can help you navigate throughout your career. At Paycom, my mentors and I have an open-door policy, so whenever I need advice or have a question, I know I can turn to them for guidance. Because my mentors have more experience in the field, they know more of the dos and don’ts, and can steer me clear of common mistakes.

5. Salary and Benefits – There is a reason this comes last. The burden of student loans lingering over your head is daunting, but it is important to fulfill numbers 1 through 4 first. Financial rewards are just icing on the proverbial cake.