6 Tips for a Smooth Transition into the Workplace from College

Two months ago, I started my job only two days after graduation with little time to prepare for the transition of the mentality behind college work to real work. The outside environment didn’t change for me- being right across the street from my college campus. Yet, the working environment did change from a high-stress “Gotta get good grades,” into where every ounce of performance means everything for the success of the company. Here are a few pointers that I have learned in my quick journey from the lecture hall to my office desk:

  • Keep doing homework. Yes, the dreaded word we all don’t want to hear. In your spare time at home, do your research by reading related industry blog posts and articles. Get involved in Twitter chats to see what kind of ideas and advice people with your same interests have to offer.
  • If you aren’t on Twitter, you should be. A lot of my fellow college grads have already stopped or haven’t began the use of social networking at a professional level. I never used Twitter before graduation two months ago, and had to learn everything I could about it for work. My experiences with it on a daily basis have evolved into a close fondness where words can’t even explain. It’s such a vital tool for networking and communication, in which you can help grow your voice and establish a brand for yourself.
  • Go above and beyond. With class assignments, the only goal was to get what you had to do, done. This kind of mentality shouldn’t transfer over to the workplace. You shouldn’t look at your job as ‘just a job.’ It’s an opportunity to grow professionally and personally, testing your skills and qualities. Wow your managers with your own creative thoughts, volunteering to do extra assignments (within reason), and seek out solutions to issues instead of being passive about them.
  • Set goals for yourself and your position. You are your own competitor. Make things at work a little more interesting by setting daily short-term goals and especially long-term ones. Even if a one-day goal is to beat how many names you put into a database, it’s a start to becoming a more focused employee.
  • Become a sponge. No, I’m not talking about SpongeBob! Learn everything you possibly can, by developing the initiative to thrive in the long run in your position. This will make you a well-rounded employee, with skills that can be beneficial to your employer and fellow coworkers. You might just get a chance to become a mentor or lead a training session!
  • Always be polite. This is a critical quality to build and sustain lasting relationships at work. Conan O’Brien said on his last airing of The Tonight Show,

“All I ask is one thing of young people: Please do not be cynical…It doesn’t lead anywhere. Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard, and you’re kind, amazing things will happen.”

After coming home from work, I still think that I have to be up until 3 a.m. finishing homework. It is quite a relief to be able to relax every evening, and not get the feeling that “my brain feels completely fried.” The workplace takes focus to another level, where determination and effort really shows. No more slipping away, doing the standard amount of work. Learn how everything within the industry functions and keep in mind how to grow yourself in your career life.

Are there any other methods of adjusting to the workplace?

Photo credit: Christa In New York

Post written by Julie Skowronek, Marketing Assistant at Whiting Consulting.

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