Here’s How Long You Should Stay At Your First Job Out of College?

Finding employment right after you graduate can be delightful. If you landed the opportunity as a part of college placements or went on a job search yourself, it is crucial to come across as a promising employee.

College graduates face the dilemma of leaving their first jobs too soon for a job hunt to find better opportunities.

In this article, we will discuss how long you should stay at your first job after college.

Most Gen Zers Think That Just a Few Months Should Do The Trick

Today, newly recruited college graduates feel that spending too much time in a new job may not be a mandate anymore.

A recent study states that, on average, fresh graduates feel that six to seven months is enough time to be spent in their current job. And yet every one in three recent graduates thinks that first employment should only last for three months or less.

The notion that a new job should be at least a year-long journey to set the rest of our working lives no longer exists in the job market.

However, recruiters feel that the new generation is not scared to start moving on to the next job in a short duration from the beginning of their professional careers.

Less Than One Year Can Be Fine — But Put in Good Time

While spending less time in a new job is the new normal, the understanding to put in your best efforts is still the way to go, even if you plan to leave your first job in three months.

No more people seem stuck with the idea of spending two years or more worth of their professional lives working in the first company. Hopping from one new employer to another within months of starting your career is a good thing, as per Gen Zers.

The duration can never exceed a few months for certain contract-based or time-based jobs. 

Internships projects on a contractual basis and temp jobs offer new graduates the opportunity to easily change jobs without having to justify the track record of short tenure. And yet, it is best to show the quality of work where you cannot exceed the tenure of a few months.

Gen Zers should focus on taking up new challenges and learnings that can help in the next project, and build all the skills required for a long-term new position.

Networking in such cases is also beneficial to recent graduates. The more people from the same field you befriend or make a professional connection with, the better opportunities you can expect in your current role.

In the end, none of it matters if you put all your hard work and honest efforts into day-to-day responsibilities for short-tenure jobs. You can even ask your supervisor to put a good word for you if you have been an exceptional performer in your current position.

The Most Common Advice is to Stay Put for at Least a Year

People will often tell you to stay with the first employer for at least 1 year. The reason is that new hires can only truly leave their mark in a year. It also gives your managers the space to consider you for better opportunities or vouch for another company.

Moreover, one year in one company is the right time to align your career goals and understand how your employers function. You could also up your skill set with in-house learning programs and in-office training.

Still, one year is just a threshold for people too eager to move on. If you are comfortable with your first employer and receiving employee benefits, rethink moving on from your current position for other employers.

If your current employer has regular incentive programs and monetary benefits after a specific tenure, staying back might be the best idea.

Several companies offer lateral movement through internal postings to employees who have worked for at least one year or 18 months.

It could be an excellent motivator to stay put and work hard instead of becoming a job hopper.

It Usually Takes Two Years to Enter the Career Black Hole That is Your Comfort Zone

Most new graduates fear losing their next opportunity if they stay with one company in the industry for long. However, you may enjoy the comfort of your office after spending more than a year.

After you reach your comfort zone, you may want to move on and learn new skills and strive to do a better job, and get promoted. However, the comfort can also cause you to get lethargic, lose focus on your career, and get comfortable with the same job description.

The former may benefit you, but the latter will make you quit eventually. So, getting too comfortable with the same work is never a good idea. Your work should motivate you to improve and help you achieve your career goals.

If You’re Shopping for Titles, Three Years Would Not be a Waste of Time

For newly graduates looking to move up the ladder in the same job, it is best to spend one to two years to be considered for a promotion. However, two years may not be enough to move into a senior role.

While the time can seem too long from Gen Z’s viewpoint, it is best if you focus on the quality of work and create a knowledge base in the same field. It would help build a strong portfolio for further progress in your job.

Working with the same company for three years can prove fruitful for Gen Z employees. It can stabilize your professional portfolio and help future employers consider you a reliable resource for managerial roles.

What if You Leave Before Your First Year is Finished?

Leaving your first job before the first year is a usual thing now. However, remember to find the right opportunities before you leave your first job, and try to stay there for two to three years.

Leaving the second job in a short period may send the wrong message to future employers. Also, it may seem like you are a troublemaker at work if your profile shows short tenure at more than one job.

Quitting First Job Out of College After 3 Months

If you are planning to quit your first job offer after graduation in three months, here are some tips for doing it the right way:

  • Find a better opportunity before you move out of this career. It would help you keep a steady income while maintaining a regular employment record.
  • Reconsider your financial condition before moving out of your first job. Save money before you leave your job. 
  • Prepare your resume and update your latest skillset and new learnings before you decide to leave your first job. You can also ask your co-workers to help you with references. 

Also, even after you quit, continue to do your work diligently till your last working day. It shows that you are a responsible person and loyal to your employer.

How Long Does the Average Person Stay at Their First Job?

On average, 36% of new graduates feel that a maximum of six months are enough to work in the first job, whereas 32% feel that three months works as a good stretch.

Can I Leave My First Job After 6 or 3 Months?

While leaving your first job within three to six months is not bad, you must ensure it does not become a reoccurring thing. Too many short-tenured jobs look like a severe red flag to recruiters.

It could also translate into behavioral issues or wrong working styles during the interview process.

Is it OK to switch companies after 1 year?

You can switch to a new company after one year. However, make sure that no possible prospects of professional growth are available in the current company.

If yes, you might want to stay put and upgrade your skills before moving.

Is 1-year experience enough?

One year of experience is an excellent tenure to show career stability; however, most people suggest it is no longer the minimum required tenure. Instead, if you perform well and show quality work, short tenure in one position won’t be a problem.

Should you be picky about your first job?

You should see if your first job position is a good fit with the new industry standards and your career goals. So, if being picky is what helps you find the dream job, then be picky. But remember that an entry-level job is just a stepping stone, and you should not be too adamant about the position offered.

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