From College to Career: 5 Tips for the Transition to Work

You’ve taken your last exam, walked across the stage at commencement, and secured a full-time job. But now what? Often, many students are so consumed with the process of finishing college that they forget that life continues once they have their diploma in hand. Here are a few tips to help you ease the transition from college to career:

Begin with the end in mind. No, you don’t have to know your entire career path that this point. But it’s important to think about what you want out of your new job.  If you know you’d like to work on certain projects or gain experience in a specific area, be sure to think about that early on -- especially if it requires specialized training or an advanced degree.

Adjust your lifestyle. Leaving college and transitioning into the real world requires a lot of change. Yes, you’ll probably have to give up sleeping until noon or watching movies all night. Your diet may change, and you’ll probably have to spend some time staying at work after hours. Be open to these lifestyle changes -- you’ll eventually develop a plan that works best for you and your experience.

Manage your expectations. One of the biggest challenges for new graduates in the workforce is their high level of expectations about their new career. From requesting a lucrative salary to asking for paid vacations throughout the year, many graduates start this new chapter with expectations that most likely will not be met. One way to offset this challenge is to manage those expectations by having honest conversations with employers, co-workers, and friends who have gone through this transition recently.

Have fun. Your transition into the workforce doesn’t have to be something you dread. All fun doesn’t stop once college is over. You’ll still be able to travel, spend time with friends, and learn new and exciting things. Take this time to figure out how to have fun while also fulfilling the responsibilities of your new job.

Utilize the Career Center resources. Although you are no longer a student, our services are still available to you. We serve alumni up to five years from the time of their graduation. You’re encouraged to continue attending special events, using our Job Search Guide, and checking out our resources to assist you in the transition from college to career. 

By Kyle Nixon 
Career Counselor
Auburn University Career Center

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