September 16, 2014

Exiting the comforts of academia and emerging into the real world

Exiting the comforts of academia and emerging into the real world - photo copyright 2012 Rick Sherrell

Leaving the safe haven of higher education can be petrifying for any student, as doing so requires a complete change in the way that learner has been living. Instead of nights filled with studying while downing pizza and loose schedules consisting of strung-together classes with time for naps in between, graduates must resign themselves to a new degree of regimentation and dedicate themselves to putting their hard-earned degrees to work in their chosen professions. When making this transition, several major steps must be undertaken.

Select a Focus

Whether earning an associate degree or a bachelor’s, many college students keep their focus purposely broad, allowing themselves to earn credentials that will qualify them for work in many different fields. Once students graduate, however, they must narrow their vision to the specific industry for which they feel they’re best suited. Upon graduating, students must think back on their time in college, particularly focusing on any industry experiences they acquired, and use these experiences to select a niche. Often, the specific area in which the recent grad lands will be determined not only by field of interest, but also by the availability of jobs at the time.

Show your Skills

The most important days a worker will spend on the job are the initial ones, as these first few workdays give employers their initial impressions of their newly hired workers. Because first impressions are often lasting ones, new workers must put extreme care into making them positive. Recent graduates should focus on putting forth their most stellar work during their first days and weeks on the payroll, helping to distinguish themselves immediately as reliable, responsible and well prepared for the rigors of the workplace.

Demonstrate Willingness to Learn

While it may logically seem to a recent college graduate that he’s done learning, this presumption is decidedly false. When entering a new workforce, there will be novel material and facts about which the new worker is ignorant. To ensure optimum success in acclimating themselves to their new environment, recent graduates must be continually willing to learn and adapt. For many students, including business administration majors, this skill isn’t a novel one but instead one they acquired through their schooling. Upon entering the workforce, those who already possess this ability to roll with the punches must simply focus on remaining flexible and open to learning.

Be Tech-Savvy

Entering the workforce with a knowledge of technology is increasingly important. As they prepare to graduate, college students should put effort into honing their skills to ensure they’re ready to face the tech challenges that await them in the real world. Once they enter the workforce, they can distinguish themselves by demonstrating their technological skills whenever possible. Even if the job the graduate takes doesn’t expressly call for tech skills, employers will notice workers who clearly possess a technological competency and likely keep the fact that the worker is tech-savvy in mind for the future.

For many people, change is an unwelcome occurrence. Any time individuals face change they must be willing to modify their routines and adapt to new requirements. Few times in life will individuals encounter a change as massive as the exit from college and entry into the workforce. While nothing can reduce the enormity of this change, former college students taking their first tentative steps into the job market can improve their chances of success and reduce the likelihood that they experience growing pains by keeping these basic transition tips in mind.

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