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Tips for Entering the Workforce

Monday, December 11, 2023

If you’re graduating college this week and entering the next season of life…. que happy dance! These past few years you have worked so hard to hone your skills and prepare for this moment. Entering your professional career field can be an intimidating transition. The workforce is a competitive environment, and as a recent graduate, you may feel like the low man on the totem pole, but that feeling will pass, and eventually, the new will feel normal.

Man clocking in at work

12 Tips for College Grads

  • Continue to build your credibility and value.
    • This may look like exploring graduate degree programs or completing certificates that grow your skillset and knowledge. It may also look like volunteering for roles and positions in the workplace that will build upon your skills.
  • Fail forward.
    • At some point, everyone in your position has been exactly where you are. It’s okay to make mistakes sometimes, but when you do, learn from them. Each experience offers a powerful learning tool for your future.
  • Find a mentor.
    • There is great power in finding a mentor in your field. Create a professional relationship with someone with more experience than you. It can be a competitive advantage and a great strategic move as you prepare for long-term career growth.
  • Build upon your soft skills.
    • Understand your personality and soft skills, then work to improve those. Do what you can to make yourself a well-rounded employee – how can you be an asset to your team?
  • Give to get.
    • Be the sort of co-worker who offers help and advice where you can, rather than only doing things to better your own career. Your willingness to be a team player will likely open many doors for your future, and help build a strong network.
  • Dress to match the culture.
    • Your work attire should represent the desired image of your company. In many offices, the current fashion trends are totally acceptable. Still, in others, you are expected to adhere to their standards and expectations, which may be more traditional.
  • Switch your focus.
    • As a college student, your life is focused on you. As an example, your professors are invested in your learning and development. However, your employers hired you for what you can do for them, not vice versa.
  • Cultivate patience.
    • Most people are in the workforce for an average of 40 years. During those 40 years, it is easy to experience burnout, loss of passion and a positive Offer yourself patience as you gain experience in your field, but also grant patience to your team, leaders and company.
  • Be coachable.
    • It’s okay, and generally, you are not expected to know everything as soon as you walk in on your first day. In fact, it will likely frustrate your co-workers if you walk in assuming you know everything. A key part of fluently learning your role is asking questions and brainstorming your thoughts and ideas with co-workers and bosses.
  • Identify your points of distinction.
    • What is it about you that makes you unique compared to the thousands of other recent graduates? Once you identify it, frame that element into every part of your interview process.
  • Use strong verbs to describe what you do.
    • Rather than just giving your job title, describe in more depth what you actually do. Paint a picture of the real results of your work and what you bring to the table.
  • Be agile and continuously learn.
    • Pay attention to new developments in your industry, and based on those, make decisions for your future, and never grow complacent in your position.
Movie character giving passionate success speech


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