Been helping people with rewriting their resumes lately, and it occurred to me that there are some things i would really have liked to know before getting my first job, but no one ever told me. If you guys can think of anything else, do add to the list.
1. Hold out for a good first offer. Most of your pay offers for subsequent jobs will be based at least partly on what you made at your previous job. Likewise, your pay offer will usually be better if you are currently holding a job while looking.
2. If your aim is to work at a big company, go for a big company for your first job. Don't take a job with a small company because big companies usually want people who are either fresh grads or have prior experience in other big companies.
3. Do you want to get hired? Or do you want to get hired at a company that you'll be happy at? If you're willing to risk it, you can ask "funny" questions at interviews and still get hired. Of course, chances of losing that job there and then are higher, so I guess it all depends on how desperate for a job you are. (When I say "funny" I really mean questions like "Is there a lot of OT required?" or being honest and saying "No, this is just a job, not my passion." or "No, I'm not willing to work long hours because I have a life outside of work.")
4. Avoid companies that advertise for "fresh grads only". There is a reason why they want fresh grads only, and that reason probably isn't to your benefit.
5. Read the contract before signing it. If you don't agree, walk. There are other jobs out there. I've had a companies try to cut the agreed pay and include a bond (in other words) in it before.
6. There are good companies out there. You just have to make the effort to find them, and be willing to job hop if necessary.