5 Tips For Transitioning Into The Workforce After College

 "Any tips for the workforce transition and how to find balance between work, school and finding your own passion outside of it all?" If you're anything like I was... I was itching by the end of my last year in college to get to "the real world" - I think it was more of the unknown of what laid ahead that had me itching, than actually wanting to be out of college. I wanted to "just know" what was going to happen post-college life. I learned five big lessons and want to share these 5 tips for transitioning into the real world post college - The Confused Millennial

ASK RACHEL…

Reader Question:     Currently trudging through my senior year of college. Any tips for the workforce transition and how to find balance between work, school and finding your own passion outside of it all? 

If you’re anything like I was… I was itching by the end of my last year in college to get to “the real world” – I think it was more of the unknown of what laid ahead that had me itching than actually wanting to be out of college. I wanted to “just know” what was going to happen post-college life.

 

adulting

 

So first of all, enjoy this time!!! Your life will never be the same after college. My fiance and I constantly talk about how easy life was back in school. There are many other perks to post-college life, but it’s very different.

 
 

 

5 Tips for Finding Your Passion While Transitioning Into the Workforce / Real World

 

1. Internships. If you haven’t already, get an internship, like YESTERDAY! Seriously, I hated working for free, but because of my undergraduate internships, it led to me making some serious coin during my graduate degree (like double than what my classmates were making).

Always be strategic about your internships, though. I had two really defining internships: one was at a law office, the other as a counselor in a mental health and substance abuse treatment center. I was deciding between the two vastly different career paths, and without going through that experience and my internships, I probably wouldn’t realize bigger passions of mine (like being an entrepreneur) as quickly as I did. I constantly am contacted by people who are older than me, still in the 9-5 grind, wishing they could quit and follow their passion. I wholeheartedly believe that internships are a major key of discovering your passion and boosting your earning potential.

Internship PRO tip: Make it clear from the start that you are seeking employment. This can go at the end of your elevator pitch when they ask you to tell them about yourself and sound something like:

“I discovered my passion for X while doing Y. I realized it was an innate gift of mine when teachers kept putting me in leadership positions surrounding this skill. Currently I am seeking an internship with (insert something specific/unique about the company) that will lead to employment opportunities at it’s conclusion.”

 

2. Say “YES”. Even if you have no idea what you’re doing, say yes during this time in your life. Say yes to work, friends, whatever.

Two big points here: work and friends.

At work, say “yes” – for a lot of us, myself included, when we are afraid our knee-jerk reaction is to say “no” because we don’t want to look dumb or mess something up. Get in the habit of saying yes and figuring it out later at work. You’re young and expected to make mistakes at this point so learn with a vengeance and always fail forward!

With friends: People forget that your friends and acquaintances in college and post-college are going to be a big part of your career in ways that you could never guess.

Seriously this guy will probably come back around and help you network your way into that killer big city job!

… Okay maybe it won’t be Zac Efron, but I’ll leave this here…

Friends can use their network to help you get that promotion, refer you business, or even become a business partner! There is something magical about relationships formed in college and during your first job(s)… a lot of times these are the friendships that are going to carry you through your third decade, if not further.

So next time you are tempted to say “no” because you have too much work to do or something, remember that balance and friendships are still investing in your future and should be prioritized and scheduled, just like revamping your resume and Linkedin.

3. Resume. I am sure if you are reading this, you have a resume. However, I can’t stress this enough, it probably sucks. Maybe it’s because of poor grammar and spelling, or you lack work experience, who knows.  The reality is your resume is probably ish right now.

How do I know?   Two reasons:  1) Mine was crap when I was 20  and 2) I receive countless resumes from college students wanting internships, and I would say out of 10 only 1 is good. I have hired interns with crap resumes, but usually regretted it. So get with a career coach or start studying the craft of a resume and cold email.

4. Step up your e-mail etiquette. One of the toughest things for most twenty-somethings to get right when transitioning into the workforce is e-mail etiquette. Check out this article for some helpful tips and if you have a question, don’t hesitate to ask.

5. Be prepared to be a little depressed. After college, you are probably either going to be really excited or a little depressed. Whether it’s because of change, leaving your friends behind, having to move back in with your parents, or you just experienced rejection for the first time from that job you had really high hopes for… most of us drop into a bit of a funk after college… Especially as the Instagram posts and Snaps start coming in from friends that seem to have magically mastered the transition.

Give yourself permission to work through those feelings, but then set a deadline for yourself to get back to life and things you enjoyed. For instance, think about what gets you really excited and energized now? Write those down. Don’t forget those. the real world is going to want to rip those things away from you and fog your head with what you “should” be doing.

ALSO: My friend Kayla, also wrote a fantastic resource for transitioning twenty-somethings, called the Corporate Survival Guide for Your Twenties: A Guide to Help You Navigate the Business World* (Amazon Affiliate link, but I really love this book and can’t sing it’s praise enough!).


Before you go grab your FREE guide to perfecting the 30-second elevator pitch!


You Might Also Like

  • Erica Ligenza

    ALL SO TRUE. I couldn’t agree more with this list, Rachel! And I particularly lovelovelove the last tip – get ready to be a little depressed. Because it’s true, and it would be naive to think otherwise! "The real world" has its ups and downs (duh!), so realistically bracing yo’self for the full package will make it a much easier transition

    http://cominguprosestheblog.com

  • Sarah Hartland

    I’m on the tail end of this transition myself and I can say for a fact that all of these tips are GREAT!

    • Congrats on the transition Sarah! Thanks for reading!

  • Emma and JW

    This is awesome, Rachel! As someone who works with college students every day, this should be required reading! I’m always pushing the students I work with to put themselves out there. Wish I had read this post when I was their age!

  • Jenny B.

    The after graduation slump was real. I’ve only been in the workforce for 2 years but discovered that the typical 9-5 is not for me so I’m excited to branch out on my own.

    • I am SO excited for you to branch out and launch your business! I can’t wait to see what you do 🙂

  • Laura Malone

    ughhhhh the transition.

    I actually did a post grad because, graduating from university at 21, I WAS NOT ready. I also took a summer and moved to Scotland to work at a pub (awesome).

    at 27 now, I look back on one decision I made with regret which is I took the FIRST job offered to me, even though I knew it wasn’t the right fit. I wanted to be working full time and moving my career forward.

    Of course, this job turned out to suck my soul, offered no networking opportunities and little professional advancement. Clawing my way out of it became a personal struggle. My advice is, don’t be afraid to turn down the wrong job! The job market sucks, sure, but better you work a part time job (or two) to make money until you find the right job to springboard your career!

    • Such an important point you just made Laura! I think that too often we don’t think of us as job seekers having the power, especially because we doubt ourselves right out of school a lot of the time – aside from not really considering if the job is a good fit for US, we don’t negotiate that first offer! — But your point about whether or not a job offers advancement opportunities is so crucial! I also got a master’s degree, and didn’t ever stop to think that the only real advancement with my degree was going into private practice for myself… I could only move up one position (one that I didn’t even want) if I was working for a company! Such good advice and insight you have there! I hope your career landscape is looking up!

  • Kate Steadman

    Email etiquette is crucial! I definitely recommend working on that in college so when you get to the work force it is a natural transition.

    xo,
    Sarakatestyling.com

  • Katie M

    This tips are great- I’m still in high school but will definitely save this for the future!

    xoxo,
    Katie
    <a href="http://chicincarolina.blogspot.com">chicincarolina.blogspot.com</a&gt;

  • Bella Bucchiotti

    Awesome post, I still have a couple years of school left but I am worried about after getting out. I will have to save this and use it! Thank you for sharing.