I’ve been waiting to write this post for quite awhile, because I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to say. In a nutshell, I have a job lined up after graduation. It’s in Nashville, so despite my love of NYC, I’ll be staying here for a while. And I can honestly say now, 3 months after signing, that I am sure I made the right decision–but I had to overcome a few doubts before I got to this point…
The Elusive Pre-Graduation Job Offer
These days, millennial grads are thankful if they get a decent job within 4 months of graduation. The average waiting time for the first full-time offer I’ve observed these past few years has been more like 6-8 months, even for some of my friends in traditionally high-demand fields (like nursing). In a nutshell, the job market certainly isn’t in a hurry to hire new grads… so getting an offer pre-graduation is certainly an honor—but it’s also very intimidating.
Should You Accept a Pre-Graduation Offer?
The short answer is that if you want to work for that company, you should accept their pre-graduation offer. The nature of pre-grad offers is that the companies are interviewing earlier than other companies, usually as early as they can. Therefore, you aren’t going to have the luxury of comparing your offer to others you might get from other companies in the future. However, if you know for sure you want to work for the company (like I did) then comparison won’t matter.
Making the Right Decision
As frustrating as this answer is, accepting any job offer (pre-grad or otherwise) is about doing what is best for you. Making a decision like where you’ll work is always going to be difficult, but there’s a few things you can do to make it easier on yourself.
1. Intern, intern, intern.
The only way to decide what type of work environment you want (big office or small office? casual or professional attire?) is to work in as many different work environments as you can and see which ones you like. Interning is also a vital component of getting a job in this market—if a hiring manager sees 100 resumes for every open position but you already interned with the company, you are much more likely to get that offer than a stranger.
2. Decide what type of work-life balance you want.
This one was the most difficult for me, because I’ve always wanted to move to NYC but my dream job offer happened to be in Nashville. This is the part where you have to be honest with yourself about what type of life you want outside of work. If you are fine with working 60+ hours a week and never seeing your apartment except before the sun rises and after dark, a consulting firm or finance company in NYC may be the job for you. But in all honesty, 60+ a week is not what I wanted. I want time to meet new people whatever city I’m living in, I want time to write and I want time to travel and read and learn and breathe. If I have to stay late some days, that’s fine, but I took a position where I’ll be able to have a life outside of work.
3. Could you see yourself working there?
I was able to secure a full-time internship with the company I’ll be working for and “try them on for size” this past summer. I got to meet managers in most of the departments in the building, most of the C-suite, and recent grads working throughout the company. I can honestly say that I would be happy to work under any of the managers I met, respect every member of the C-suite and can see myself working beside the recent grads at the company that I got to know.
If you aren’t able to get an internship at the company you want to work for, never fear. Just make it your mission to get details about day-to-day life there. Meet as many people as you can at the company, both at your level and above your level. Think seriously about the office environment and work culture. If the environment, culture, and personalities mesh with yours, chances are you’ll be a pretty great fit at that company.