The days leading up to the end of university can be exciting – but intense. These career tips will help you prepare for the real-world expectations of landing a job.
Earlier in 2019, Harvard Business Review interviewed 54 college graduates to understand how they were transitioning from college to professional life. Not surprisingly, most described the process as being exhausting, and relayed feelings of being “disoriented, confused, dissatisfied, and in many cases overwhelmed with the ‘real world’.” Now, the scenario is not so different from the experience of university graduates elsewhere.
As a student, you are likely to feel quite overwhelmed with the prospects and the decisions you have to make. So, we teamed up with the career experts at Essay Pro to line up some final teaching points to help you make a smooth transition to work life.
Do Not Procrastinate
The first mistake most students make is that they prepare for a professional experience only after graduation. In this fiercely competitive world, one must start looking for opportunities well before finishing college. There is nothing wrong about looking for entry-level jobs; however, do not hesitate to apply for work that will help you acquire new skills.
There are also organisations that recruit students for work-study programs. These will let you pursue higher studies while having a guaranteed job on campus or at a partner firm.
Get the Right References
Never underestimate the power of good recommendation from your university professor or alumni. As important as it is to cherish your final student days, it is equally important to keep in mind the tasks you have to complete.
Make sure to gather references from your lecturers, campus employers, and mentors. It is best to do this before you leave college rather than calling them just before you need a reference. Whatever they can write in your favour can play a significant role in getting you the first job.
Prepare For What College Hasn’t Taught You
As the Harvard Business Review survey points out, there is a notable cultural difference between university and the workplace. Colleges provide thorough and consistent feedback on assignments, as opposed to an office. Many students do not acknowledge that having an academic superiority does not always translate to being good at a job and interpersonal skills.
Employers are more likely to be impressed with what you can contribute to the firm rather than your credentials. Your university education might not help you master communication and personal skills. And you will need them to improve your chances of success.
Prepare for Networking, Interviews, and Negotiations
The job market is constantly fluctuating, and you might be entering the domain at any time. The harsh reality is that attaining a job offer is not only challenging and strenuous, but also time-consuming.
You might have to face rejections before you hear a positive response. While the Internet is a good source, do not neglect the power of good networking that can bring you jobs. Even after leaving college, stay connected with clubs and organisations that you can benefit from.
If you are lucky enough to get more than one offer, it will give you an advantage in deciding on the right job. You might also be able to negotiate the terms and remuneration based on your long-term career objectives.
While at the Job
You are bound to have expectations of your perfect first job that will tick all the relevant boxes. Do not panic if the reality differs much from your expectations. Instead, look at it as a learning experience that will direct you to other opportunities.
It is not uncommon for graduates to try a few jobs before understanding what career path they prefer. In the current trend, you might even be changing fields, not just positions.
Time management is another essential factor that you will need to work on. If you thought shuffling classes and assignments were trying, you might find it even more challenging to manage 40-hour workweeks. For a new professional, the days would be more structured compared to college.
You have to be punctual and cannot skip workdays as you wish. As a new employee, you would have to work even harder to make a good impression. Remember, this will be your first professional reference for all future jobs.
Being Professional at the Workplace
Professionalism in a workplace is much more than being mere punctual and completing your tasks. It extends to being a team player, being dependable, taking initiatives, and holding accountable. You will have to figure out these aspects on your own and seek out new ways to learn from your mistakes.
Your employer might not expect you to excel at everything at your first job. However, that doesn’t give you a free pass to making mistakes. It is crucial to demonstrate that you are willing to adapt and be a reliable team player.
Making the jump to the professional world might not be a smooth ride. You will have to put in both time and effort to master the transition. If you need, reach out to your friends or acquaintances working in the same field to get some tips.
Being book smart does not always guarantee good work experience. A bit of preparation might help you in the long run in the professional world.