There's a big difference between an okay first job and a great first job.
When it comes to finding the first job that's right for you, salary is just one of the many factors to consider. There are some benefits that don't have anything to do with money, yet have the potential to make a huge difference in your overall quality of life.
These days, companies like McDonald's are redefining what it means to be an employee — they're supporting the advancement of the people who work for them through education, work-life balance, skills training and so much more.
So if you truly want a great first job, don't settle for just a salary. Set the bar as high as your aspirations and look for a company that offers the benefits that you'll need to live your best life.
Here are five benefits that you should consider if you're looking for a great first job.
1. Flexible hours
Contrary to what your parents may have told you, a traditional nine-to-five job isn't the right fit for everyone. In today's job market, more and more employers are offering flexible schedules as one of the benefits they provide.
Whether it's the option to work on nights and weekends, or to switch shifts with co-workers to find the hours that work best for you, a flexible schedule will help you achieve that elusive work-life balance, not to mention it'll give you ample time to pursue other endeavors outside of work.
2. Tuition assistance and academic training
A good employer cares about helping employees reach their goals. That's why many companies offer help to those who are working toward completing a degree. Take McDonald's, which offers eligible employees tuition assistance and scholarships, college credit and management programs and academic training in areas like language.
When you're on the search for your first job, it's important to take these kinds of benefits into consideration —companies that offer them show they value their employees enough to put resources toward helping them become better versions of themselves.
3. A social work culture
Look, we have nothing against the cubicle life, but it just isn't right for everyone. Working (and simultaneously socializing) with people whom you enjoy is a huge benefit that should be high on your list when you're looking for a first job.
This type of environment improves the quality of your days and provides a network of support for those inevitable moments when you run into challenges on the job.
4. Professional Skills
The best companies recognize potential in prospective employees, and don't turn down qualified individuals based on a lack of teachable skills.
So instead of looking for a job that perfectly aligns with the talents you already have, hold out for an employer that's willing to train you in the areas in which you'll need expertise. A job worth taking will teach you crucial professional attributes like communication, problem-solving and leadership skills.
5. Job Recognition
Good work should always be rewarded, but unfortunately that's not the case at every job.
The right first job will provide you with upward mobility and the ability to grow within a company. It's not every day that an employee graduates from making burgers to managing people, but at places like McDonald's, this kind of advancement is a real possibility.
With this potential for recognition, you'll have goals to strive for, and — most important — you'll never feel stagnant in your role.