Your first job out of college will certainly not be your last. Data shows that most people have 10 jobs on their resume between college graduation and their 45th birthday. However, it can be difficult to know when it’s time to take that next “first” step in growing your career.  There isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to this conundrum, but there are some important factors you should consider before taking the leap.

Meet the Minimum Benchmark

While there are no real rules for how long to stay at a job, hiring managers would like to see that you stuck it out for at least one year. Entry-level jobs are opportunities to learn, and you cannot become an expert at anything in a few months’ time.

As a recent graduate, managers will not trust you with big responsibilities until you’ve proven that you have mastered small ones. Don’t get frustrated if you have not been offered a raise or a promotion during your first year. Nobody starts at the top or even the middle. Make the most of your first year on the job, acting as a sponge and keeping your expectations realistic. Study up on your desired career path and know what types of experience and qualifications are required in order to take the next step.

Make Sure You’re Taking a Step Forward

If you are working for a company that cannot support your desired career path, it is definitely time to make a plan to move on. However, before you take the leap, make sure you are genuinely taking a step forward before making a change. If you make a series of lateral moves, job hopping the course of a few years, hiring managers will not view you as a strong candidate.

Leave on Good Terms

References are critical in any job search, and leaving an employer on bad terms is never a good idea. Always give at least two weeks’ written notice to your employer, and continue to put forth a strong effort as you work out your final days on the job.

If you are subject to an exit interview, do not use the time to vent all of your frustrations. You can be honest about the reasons you are leaving, but keep it professional. Don’t insult your boss or criticize company leadership, products or services.

Are you a recent graduate ready to take on new challenges in information technology or accounting and finance? Reach out to the recruiters at Systems Personnel in Buffalo. Since 1996, we have been connecting the best and brightest talent with some of the most innovative employers in the region. Contact us today to learn how we can help you take the first step in growing your career.