Transitioning to the Working World
Growing up, many people have their academic careers planned out. As a college student, you take four years to learn your discipline based on your major of choice. Hopefully, you can get an internship or job during your time in college that helps you get real-world experience. Then, you graduate, and now what? In this article, I will speak about some tips and tricks to stay positive and well-prepared for the next steps. As a current senior in college, I can speak about some things I have tried to feel the most prepared to walk across the stage at graduation and jump into life in Corporate America.
In college, you are encouraged to start networking freshman year and begin creating a resume and a LinkedIn profile. These are great stepping stones to becoming more prepared for the corporate world. Don’t be afraid to ask your professors, classmates, colleagues, and alumni about ways to get ready for the workforce. Networking can be daunting at first, but it will get easier as time passes. You never know what opportunities can come your way until you connect with employers, professors, and other centers of influence on LinkedIn or at job fairs.
Experience is Key
Internships, academic clubs, and various leadership opportunities can help pave the way for more clarity and foundation of the career path you would like to pursue. In my personal experience, my three internships helped me gain a variety of skills that I have taken advantage of bringing to the classroom and beyond. Internships provide real-world experiences amidst the college curriculum. They can help you gain clarity on if your field of choice would be the right fit for you in the future. Academic clubs also help students become connected to like-minded individuals in their academic field working toward a common goal. These organizations foster leadership skills, push independence, and promote collaboration, as well.
Finding the Right Fit
As senior year approaches, job hunting should begin. If you are one of the lucky ones to get a job offer after your junior year internship, you are golden. However, you still need to make sure you can see a future with this company, share their values, and see opportunities for advancement and growth. If this is not the case, don’t be afraid to keep looking until a better fit comes along. Job fairs are great ways to put yourself out there and make connections with alumni and employees of various companies, to gauge if the culture and the company they work for would be best suited for you. If job fairs are not successful, don’t be afraid to search on LinkedIn Jobs, Indeed, RippleMatch or Handshake. This process can be very draining and overwhelming. Just remember your time will come and don’t be afraid to ask your family, friends, professors, or classmates for advice on this process.
The Next Steps
Once accepting a full-time job, you need to figure out your living situation. Depending on your location, it will determine if you will be moving to a bustling city or a smaller town. Either way, you need to find a place to live that is reasonably priced and in a good location compared to where your job is located. Normally, the golden rule is you should spend a maximum of 30% of your income on rent. This way, you still have plenty of income to spend on other bills, loans, and other monthly spending. In addition to finding a place to live, joining Facebook groups to meet new people and doing research on your new area will help ease the confusion associated with living in a new place. For example, this can include looking up various exercise classes, local community events, or other activities to do in the area. In addition, you can see if there is an alumni group in your new area. This can be a great resource to meet fellow alumni and make more connections. Putting in this effort before the move will help you feel less overwhelmed when the time comes.
Don’t Get Discouraged
There is no right or wrong answer to jumping into a full-time job. However, staying positive and not getting discouraged during the hard and difficult days is so important. Throughout college, you learn how to balance priorities, in addition to core concepts from your major. Accepting that you will not know everything when you walk through the door is vital. Learning that life will not be perfect right away will help you align priorities and expectations for the future. Also, don’t be afraid to seek help from your boss or other coworkers. They usually are more than willing to help this transition be as smooth as possible.
In summation, the transition from college to the working world is difficult, but these tips can ease the pain in moving forward. Although I have not crossed the graduation stage yet, I know that putting the extra effort before the move and change will allow for a smoother transition.
By Sarah Viebrock