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Guest blogger Sarah Voelkel holds the position of account coordinator at Wright Feigley Communications, a Baton Rouge-based advertising agency. Sarah graduated from Louisiana State University with a bachelor’s in public relations and most recently, a master’s in strategic communication. Sarah has a love for writing, sunsets, cooking with fresh, local foods and the TV show Parks and Recreation. Follow her Instagram, @GirlMeetsFoodBR, for tasty options around Baton Rouge.

Sarah Voelkel, 2015 Master's graduate of the Manship School of Mass Communication

Sarah Voelkel, 2015 Master’s graduate of the Manship School of Mass Communication

Job hunting is not for the faint of heart, especially with a competitive and unpredictable job market. Interviews can be a daunting process, and thanks to social media, job candidates are put under the microscope more than ever. I once heard a story about a guy who applied to Coca-Cola, but didn’t get the job because of an old Facebook photo of him holding a Pepsi.

Considering the obstacles job seekers face, getting even one job offer is plenty reason to celebrate. But, if you’re lucky enough to be fielding multiple offers fresh out of college, you have a big decision to make.

So, how do you know which job is the best fit? Consider this question carefully because while your first job won’t be your dream job, it needs to be the right job. Here are 4 tips on choosing the right job to propel your career in the direction you want.

  1. Weigh the pros and cons.

Ask yourself, “Which position will help me reach my career goals?” Weigh the pros and cons of each job in relation to your unique situation and the experience you need to land  your dream job in the future. You might be faced with turning down a higher paying job in lieu of a position with lower pay, but great experience.

While salary and benefits are important to consider, they shouldn’t be the driving force behind your decision. Money can make life easier, but it doesn’t promise happiness, fulfillment or growth in the work place. From professional development to company culture, office leadership, experience and location, there’s a lot more on the line than dollar signs.

  1. Use the interview to your advantage. 

As much as they’re interviewing you, you’re also interviewing them. It’s important to get a feel for the culture, processes and work demands as best you can. Ask specific questions to know if you’ll fit in or inquire about shadowing an employee for a day.

The interview is your chance to ask questions that could make or break a job offer, so use it wisely. Asking thoughtful questions also shows you’ve done your research and are serious about the position you’re interviewing for.

  1. Don’t be shy about asking for advice. 

Take initiative and utilize the resources at your fingertips. Ask your parents and closest family members for advice. They probably know you best and there’s a good chance they’ve experienced what you’re going through. But, don’t stop there.

Reach out to your college professors and mentors whom you trust and admire. Talk to your significant other and friends to share notes on experiences. Leaning on others for support will help you gain new perspectives for a well-rounded view of your options, allowing you to make an informed decision for yourself.

  1. Follow your gut instinct.

The best piece of advice I’ve found to be true is to follow your gut. While it’s important to heed the advice of others, remember to listen to your head and follow your heart. No one cares more about your career than you do. In the end, only you know what you’re truly passionate about. And only you know what’s best for you and your career path.