Congratulations, you’ve completed your studies (or are about to). That means you ought to start looking at job advertisements and sending in your CV to see what opportunities await you. But, before sending out your CV to anywhere that’s not asking for five years of experience, there are a few company aspects you need to consider.

You shouldn’t work at just any company which is willing to give you a chance. First of all, you’re still young and have plenty of time to chop and change between jobs. Secondly, your first proper job needs to be carefully considered. It will set the tone for jobs to come and if you have a bad experience, you might not feel motivated or encouraged to further your career. Also, you’re a fresh-from-the-oven graduate who needs to find the right place to gain experience and establish yourself in the adult world.

You know what you’re looking for in terms of industry and job field, but you might not know what to look for in a company. If that’s the situation you find yourself in, here is a guideline of what to look for in a job advertisement and company before you apply and undergo the interview process.

Company culture

A company’s culture should be evident in their job advertisement. You can pick it up from the type of language they use, their references to an “inside joke” (for example, if being a coffee enthusiast is a candidate “requirement”) and other nuances in the advert. You should also be able to go onto the company’s website and see the people who work there, how they dress and how the brand as a whole presents themselves online.

A company culture will play a large role in how much you enjoy your first job. It’s an indication of how the company takes care of its people and what their work ethic is like as well. You want to find a company which knows how to relax and get the job done. Without a great company culture, you will struggle to find a reason to get up for work every morning other than for the pay cheque at the end of the month.

Training and skills development

Applying for your first job means that you likely don’t have much, if any, experience in the field and that puts you at disadvantage. But it also serves as one of your advantages. You have fresh course material and the latest knowledge of your subjects to spark innovation at the company you choose to work at.

However, the fact is that you lack work experience and you need to find a company which can offer you valuable experience through more than just a temporary six-month contract. You need to find a company which offers graduates training courses and skills development training courses to introduce you to the industry and put you on par with the rest of the company’s employees.

These skills development programmes would work in your favour for when you choose to look for work elsewhere, and still only have a year or a few months of experience to your name. This is also another indication of a company which has their employees’ interests at heart and are willing to invest in their careers for the future of the company.

Mentorship opportunities

Another quality to look for in a company is whether they offer mentorship opportunities or not. It’s likely that with a skills development programme, there would be a skills development facilitator who you could work with and learn from.

If not, you should consider finding a company which offers mentorship opportunities. While your mind is still half in student-mode, you should find a place which is going to teach you new things. And it’s not about being spoon-fed on the job, but rather being comforted by the fact that you will grow in this position and be able to leave with valuable insight and skills to benefit your career going forward.

Permanent possibilities

It’s not often that the company where you have your first job, which is usually an internship or entry-level position, is the company you stay with forever. But it’s always beneficial to stay with a company for at least a year or two before moving on. Especially when it’s your first job and your next one is likely to be picky about work experience.

So when you apply for an internship or temporary position, you need to look at whether the company would be interested in offering you a permanent position at the end of your initial contract.

These types of companies do exist and there are opportunities wherever you look, so long as you know what to look for, which, now you do.