Going out into the ‘real world’ after graduation can bring a smorgasbord of emotions. While you can get really excited at first as you look back into what you have accomplished as a student, anxiety and fear can sometimes kick in as you look into the future – and for good reason.
Especially true for Millennials, getting a job today can be quite a challenge: a 2017 report shows that unemployment rate among Millennials is at 12.4%, while the country average is at 5.5%. For you to have a smooth transition from school to work, make sure that you are well-prepared to build a budding career for success.
1. Aim to get the best internship experience
Depending on your career choice and industry, landing the best internship experience can be quite tricky. As factors for each opportunity may vary, you should ask these questions as you weigh your options: Will the internship offer a real experience that will separate you from your peers? What job will you assume during the internship, is this something you want to be an expert on? Does the company’s internship program have a proven track record of producing successful interns?
One of the goals of internships is for you to apply the lessons you learned at school on the job. An internship that will empower you to execute industry principles while enabling you to observe its effects can help a lot in connecting theories to reality.
2. Seek mentorship from your boss
While your teachers and professors are well-versed in teaching from an ideal point of view, a mentorship from your boss can be a fundamental factor in preparing yourself once you start your career as a professional.
During your internship, you will most likely find a boss or even an employee, that is very knowledgeable about the industry. Seek to establish rapport and a working relationship with them and see if they can become your mentor. Most senior workers would be glad and honored that may lead them to oblige.
3. Volunteer to expand capabilities
As you continue with your internship, try to put yourself across the board and attempt to be a part of as many processes as you can. This will help you piece together different facets of the industry and provide you with an overview and understanding of how it all works.
4. Avoid unprofessional conduct at all costs
Practice professionalism as early as possible. At school, acting unprofessional can only result in a bad grade, which you can always take again. However, unprofessional conduct at work can lead you to lose your job. Early on, make it a point to practice professionalism so you can only bring good habits once you start working.
Professionalism at work may encompass several factors, such as punctuality, appearance, conduct, and your level of knowledge and expertise for the job. As a new employee, maintain professionalism by talking politely to your boss and peers, dressing appropriately for work, and treating your customers with respect and utmost tolerance.
5. Be personally accountable and reliable
Once you start working, you will only come to realize the impact of lack of accountability through shameful mishaps and work sanctions, which you should never hope to experience. Accountability means taking full responsibility to complete tasks and performing the duties of the job effectively. To avoid being put under scrutiny at work, make it a habit to be accountable for your responsibilities.
Professionalism also requires you to be reliable, which basically translates to having the tenacity to avoid things from falling off at all cost. Simply sticking to your schedule and beating deadlines for schoolwork ahead of time will help you practice this virtue.
6. Don’t limit yourself to familiar fields and industries
Even if you think you’re not a perfect fit for the current job that you have, most skills acquired at school can still be relevant in different fields. The skills you gain at university can be put to immediate use in many jobs that could still lead to a successful career. Especially in today’s interconnected world, most professions and lines of expertise may have several applications in other industries. You can always find other industries where you can flourish as an expert.
7. Don’t fret too much about your first job
Don’t let your first job determine your entire career. As a fresh graduate, you might have a notion that the first job is indicative of your whole career. While this may be true in some respects, this isn’t entirely the case.
8. Don’t worry too much about getting promoted fast
Getting promoted is a great milestone. However, accelerated promotion can be daunting at first, but with the necessary training and by welcoming change, your skills gained through internship and at school, compounded by your professionalism, will help you eventually fill the skill gaps and succeed in your career.
As you ease into the first few years of your career, remember to just wing it. Even if you have career plans for the next few years, you will come across circumstances that will require you to adapt on the go. If you don’t stop trying to succeed, you’re on track to achieving your career goals and aspirations.