November 19, 2012
By the time you graduate from college, you’ve probably mastered doing well in school. What you may not have mastered, however, is succeeding in the workforce. What you’ve learned in school will matter when you start your first job out of college, but it won’t be the only thing that matters.
You’ll have to learn a number of new, practical skills and challenge yourself in a number of new ways. The first several months of working as a recent graduate will be a period of adjustment. Fortunately, there are things you can do to make your transition from college to your first real world job easier.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you make the shift:
Putting off an important assignment and then staying up all night to finish it may have worked in college, but it won’t work at your real world job. You’ll have multiple assignments and deadlines to keep track of, and procrastination will definitely derail you and make your life infinitely more stressful. Proper time management and prioritization of tasks are essential pieces of the career success puzzle.
The Internet can be a huge distraction at work and promote procrastination. According to Forbes, 73% of adult workers under age 35 surf to websites unrelated to work on a daily basis. Unfortunately, spending too much time on Twitter at work makes you a less productive employee and decreases the chances that you’ll be viewed as a top performer at your office. So, log out of Facebook while you’re on the clock.
Expect Some Grunt Work
Your first job right out of college may not be as mentally stimulating and professionally rewarding as you hoped. An entry-level job is essentially a chance for you to prove yourself before you can move up the ranks. You may be assigned tasks that are below your skill level, and some of what you do may seem like busy work. Few people are handed the keys to a corner office on their graduation day. Try not to let any grunt work you have do as a recent grad get you down. In this job market, having a job is a privilege, not a right. That’s why it’s crucial that you take every task you’re assigned seriously.
Don’t Expect Accolades
As a student, you could use the grades you got as a barometer for assessing your overall performance. In the real world, there aren’t any grades. Most, but not all, companies give their employees regular performance reviews every six months or every year. Performance reviews will help you gauge how you’re doing, but they may be the only time you receive quality feedback from the higher-ups. No matter where you end up working, you probably won’t receive as much feedback as you’d like, especially if you’re doing your job well.
Employees who miss the mark get quite a bit of feedback from their supervisors, and it’s not necessarily the kind of feedback they want to be receiving. Employees who are meeting the company’s needs may not hear so much as a peep from their supervisors. Don’t expect frequent pats on the back and accolades for your work. Your paycheck is, in many ways, your reward for your performance.
As an intelligent, skilled, talented, knowledgeable woman, you have what it takes to succeed at your first job after college. Just keep the tips listed above in mind, and prepare yourself to give your all. Before you know it, you’ll be moving up the ladder and making waves as a young professional!
Guest Blog Byline: This article was written by Lenore Holditch, a freelance writer and blogger who contributes to a variety of sites about her experiences as a writer and human being. When she’s not working on professional writing projects for toponlinecolleges.com, she’s helping recent graduates find work.
Photo Credit: Microsoft Free Clip Art