Moving from College to Career

If you are preparing to graduate college in another month or so, you probably have more on your mind that just your finals.  Figuring the career world, finding your way through interviews, moving – sometimes back in with parents can all be daunting and stressful.  Here are some tips to keep in the back of your mind as you start the job hunt or evaluate job offers:
  1.  The economy is bad for just about everyone.  Don’t get deterred if your dream job isn’t coming through.  There are plenty of entry level jobs.
  2. Your dream job likely won’t be your first job.  Most college degrees are pretty general.  What most entry level jobs are looking for it someone with a degree who can write, file, email and act professionally.
  3. Keep your salary expectations in check.  Between a tough economy and entry level jobs your first salary may be disappointing or it may seem like a lot of money.  Look at what entry level pay is for various jobs you are qualified for, how much housing costs in the area, and be prepared to make some quick budgets. Make sure you can at least pay your bills and put something away – even if its $20.
  4. This is your opportunity to figure out what it is you want to do with your life.  Take advantage of it.  If you know the industry you want to work in, find a way in and work hard.  It will help to pave the way if you want to change departments, move up or change industries entirely.
  5. This will not be a job you stay in forever or even for a few years likely.  Get everything you can out of it, and figure out what you can add to it.  When you move you want to be able to show you created something new – even if it was creating a new filing system.
  6. Be prepared to work on someone else’s schedule.  College allows you to build your own schedule for the most part – taking classes just in the afternoon or on certain days.  The real world does not function this way.  Whether you are in an office, working retail or waiting tables, you will need to be flexible.
  7. Act professional.  If you are unsure of dress codes, hours, water cooler chat schedules, ask questions and take some time to figure it out.
The tasks may not seem interesting and hands on projects as students are often more fascinating.  Prove yourself and you’ll get to that point. I also recommend look back at posts we have done on networking, informational interviews, interviews and the first day on the job for additional tips.   *Photo Credit CR Artist via Creative Commons License

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