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What Students are Looking for in a Job

After many discussions with friends and fellow aspiring professionals, I have seen some trends emerge in their desires for their professional lives. Many corporations have already adapted to make some of these selling points as to why one should work for them. I believe that most students fall into at least one of these four categories when it comes to what they are looking for in a job or internship.

Work-life balance

For students looking into a job, the first question or thought that often comes to their mind is how many hours a week will this be? Not all of this is because they don’t want to put in the work, but more and more students want to make sure that they have time outside of work for a life, and to have time to be with their friends and family. I know many students who have changed the location of their desired job or switched career paths just based on the amount of hours they expect to work. Many students desire work to be remote so they can be with their family and live where they want, but there are just as many students if not more who strongly desire to be in person and spend many hours learning from others.

Corporate Culture

When I ask professionals about what they like most about their company, 9 times out of 10 they say it is the people. When everyone is telling you that the people are the best part of the company, making sure you fit in with the corporate culture and the people at the company becomes a priority. Professors and mentors alike advise to make sure you think about the people who are interviewing you as much as they think about you. At the end of the day, you will be spending most of your week with them as your co-workers, and students are always looking to see how professionals act, treat each other, and what their values are.

Location and Benefits

Many students I know place a heavy emphasis on where companies are located or what benefits they provide. Employers have taken notice to this and reacted. Large companies like Papa John's and Southwire are moving to the Battery to attract young talent, as more students are looking into where their work will be and ask themselves if it is somewhere they would like to live by. In addition to location, many students look into the additional benefits of their professional experience. A great example of this is Delta Air Lines. Many students love the opportunity to not only work for one of the largest companies in Atlanta, but their co-op program also comes with flight benefits for the students that attracts many students to seek these experiences.

Prestige / Exit Opportunities

If a student is not thinking at all about the previous three subjects, I can almost guarantee that they are focused on this one. Some students I know are not looking for the best work-life balance, culture, or location. What they want, is to make sure that their first job is a launchpad for their long term goals and career. These students place a heavy emphasis on how others view companies, how prestigious it is, and how much weight the name carries on a resume. Working at these companies is seen as a step toward their larger goals.

4 Trends

These four trends are what I have seen as the most impactful for students' decisions in their next job/career move. It has been fascinating to watch mentors and older students change their aspirations and goals based on these trends. As always please leave any thoughts in the comments below.

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