5 Tips For Post-Grads Transitioning from a Student to Professional

Updated: Jun 21, 2019

By Jazzmon Cobb, former Cronkite Career Services Student Worker

Obtaining a degree is a tremendous accomplishment; and naturally, holds vast expectations. However, the transition from being a full-time student to working a full-time career can be challenging—the pressure is on to finally put that acquired knowledge to use. Nonetheless, it is important to know that the post-grad experience won’t look the same for everyone, and adapting to a new routine and lifestyle will take time. Consider these five tips following college graduation:

1.    Focus on your achievement rather than instant gratification   

Jumpstarting your career can be stressful, especially when it seems like everyone else has opportunities lined up. Your dream job may not fall into your lap; however, it is essential to stay positive during the process. Take this time to utilize your network connections, broadcast your availability, and explore diverse openings and organizations that can benefit from your expertise. Also, don’t let the “number of years” experience listed on a job application discourage you—if you have the skills, apply! Unless it is a very obviously senior-level role. Steer clear of directorship titles and high-level management roles that say 5+ years of experience. If the title includes “Specialist” or “Coordinator,” 3+ years required, and you meet all other requirements, it’s definitely worth applying.

2.      Maintain a sustainable work-life balance

After being a student, it will take some time to adjust to your new work schedule. A demanding career may require you to sit at a desk consecutively, rather than in hourly intervals; and oh yeah, overtime is a thing. Nonetheless, remember that you don’t have to sacrifice self-care for career advancement. Mind and body are connected and if your mind isn’t right, you certainly won’t be producing your best work. So, make time for yourself to recharge and refuel. Continue activities that you enjoy. If you loved hiking, biking, running or yoga before your new gig, keep it up to keep yourself sane and balanced.

3.    Make a good impression your first day on the job

Congratulations, you made it past the interviews and landed the job! However, first impressions still matter, especially as a new employee. As a fresh addition, you want to make the best impression on your new team. Let your authentic enthusiasm steer your introduction with firm handshakes, eye contact, and inviting conversation. Approachability can help you adapt to the office culture.

4.    Listen to yourself

Adjusting to a new work environment can be difficult, however, it is necessary to recognize when the source of your discomfort is anomalous. Any career may face inconveniences of high stress and corporate politics; however, no job should comprise your humanity. If you find yourself experiencing adverse treatment or discrimination, don’t be afraid to address it. Document the situations where you felt boundaries were crossed. If it continues, take professional measures to address the problem—even if that means resignation. In any field, remember the company-employee dynamic should be mutually beneficial. Always know and honor your value. 

5.      Value your time

For those college seniors, lucky enough to dodge 8 a.m. classes, your new lifestyle may now include consecutive early mornings. Nonetheless, it is crucial to be prepared for the day, so make it a habit to get up and make it to work on time.

Lastly, enjoy the time you have left in college. You’ll miss it!   

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