When you think about major life transitions that most people will experience throughout their lifetime, the ones that first come to mind are things like a health event, marriage, becoming a parent, retirement, or loss of a loved one. For each of those, there are thousands of books, podcasts, and additional resources available to help navigate you through that season of life. However, there is one life transition that doesn’t seem to get anywhere near as much attention (but is equally important): the transition from college to the workforce.
The whole college experience leads up to the moment when you go out into the world to join the workforce. While this should be an exciting time of life, making the jump to the “real world” can be a very scary thing! In fact, most people on the verge of that transition feel wildly underprepared. A 2018 McGraw-Hill Education survey found that only 43% of college seniors feel prepared for their future careers. In an effort to make that jump seem a little less scary, our recent college grads all shared their number one piece of advice for someone on the verge of transitioning from college to the workforce.
Be gracious to yourself & focus on learning one day at a time. You won’t know everything right away and you aren’t expected to. You still won’t know everything after three months, six months, or even a year. Remind yourself that it is okay that you don’t know everything and focus on learning something new every day. Over time, you will build up all your job skills through your dedication to learning each day.
Chase good management, not compensation. When you are first starting out, you should work for the company where you will learn the most & have the most opportunities, not the one where you will make the most money. If you spend your 20s learning from the right people and building knowledge, compensation will come in due time.
Mary Alex Ballard
Be patient. The transition from college to the workforce is big and can feel overwhelming. Keep in mind that getting used to things, whether it's your job or life in general, can take a while. So, don't rush it; give yourself the space to adapt.
Become a subject matter expert in something at your new role. It can be anything, but you need to dive deep into your chosen subject and become the go-to person on your team. Your coworkers will notice the effort and it can give you the opportunity to expand to new challenges and areas of learning.
Feeling isolated is normal. Especially if you move away from your hometown. Seek out community because you never know when you may need help. We are not meant to do life alone.
Be open to learning a multitude of different things at your new place of work (even if they are outside of your job description). As a new graduate, I think it is beneficial to try new things so you can identify processes or systems that you do not have much experience with. If you can learn more about these topics, you will continue to grow into a more well-rounded employee and person.