Photo Credit: THE GRAD ROUTE

Leaving school for the first time is exciting, you just received your degree and are now ready to venture out into the work world. You know there will be a challenge and are often facing challenges far bigger than you anticipated. The transition from school to the professional world does not have to be as challenging. Even with less experience, you can move your career ahead.

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Make a vision

The first thing you need to do is firmly decide what you want to be doing with your career. Make a vision – determine what is acceptable for you and what it will be like in the future. Begin by determining what organizations you would like to ideally work for, be creative. Coming out of school brings a world of opportunities and now is the time to set the tone for the beginning of your career. Determine your acceptable salary and the company culture you want to work in. Would you like a more formal or casual environment? Decide on the location and the amount of growth you expect. Are you just looking for a position to get some experience, or are you looking to be working at an organization that offers several options for professional development?

If you are coming out of school for the first time and are not sure what direction to move in, consider seeking out informational interviews from professionals who are already working in the perspective sector you are interested in. Ask these professionals what it has been like and what made them choose their career direction. This will allow you to gather information and make an informed decision about what job to apply for.

Use the network

After graduation, we often have a social network that is comprised of friends, managers you have worked for and professors. What many students neglect to develop is a professional network of industry specialists who have already started their careers. Joining an industry association is a great way to get to know others in your industry and look for a mentor. A mentor is a learning experience, it’s an opportunity for you to build a relationship with an experienced professional and gather insight about your industry, and the professional world in general. Another great way to build your network is to consider volunteering positions are also a great way to grow your skills, improve your resume and network.

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Research trends

Becoming visible and keeping updated on current events in your industry will make you a much more marketable candidate. Coming out of school you have the theory and understanding of your field as a whole; however, subscribing to business magazines and researching on current industry trends can really give you a big step in the right direction. Often there are new pieces of legislation coming out and professional designations that you can obtain which will help you to move forward in your career.

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Make your resume more effective

For several students a common element which can significantly hold them back is their resume. Often recent grads have a resume that has not transitioned from the “school format” yet. When you are out of university you have officially achieved all the rights and provisions of your industry to identify you as a professional. Your resume should reflect that. But how do you put forth your knowledge with limited experience? Consider using a functional or combinational resume. These resumes use a format that explains skill sets followed by explanations of how you are able to perform these skills. For instance, if you are a finance major and have completed some internships or projects on a certain topic and know you could perform successfully in the workplace, you may create a section for that ability. You can follow this with two to three examples of how you worked with that skill along with a short description of the knowledge you have of it. Always ensure that your resume puts forth your most relevant positions of your field.

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Another common concern that recent graduates have is the fact that they have worked a lot of service jobs and aren’t sure how to use these positions on their resume. Consider using the transferable skills such as math, analytical, sales, organization and communication skills. These skills are transferable and valuable. When editing your resume still list your positions and keep the focus on the parts of the job that will be the most useful and interesting to a new employer.

Finally, never let setbacks get you down. Your career, especially the beginning, will be full of ups and downs. How you respond to and learn from your experiences will set the tone for your career. Always keep in mind what made you passionate about your career decision in the first place.

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Leaving school for the first time is exciting, you just received your degree and are now ready to venture out into the work world. You know there will be a challenge and are often facing challenges far bigger than you anticipated. The transition from school to the professional world does not have to be as challenging. Even with less experience, you can move your career ahead.

Make a vision

The first thing you need to do is firmly decide what you want to be doing with your career. Make a vision – determine what is acceptable for you and what it will be like in the future. Begin by determining what organizations you would like to ideally work for, be creative. Coming out of school brings a world of opportunities and now is the time to set the tone for the beginning of your career. Determine your acceptable salary and the company culture you want to work in. Would you like a more formal or casual environment? Decide on the location and the amount of growth you expect. Are you just looking for a position to get some experience, or are you looking to be working at an organization that offers several options for professional development?

Advertisement

If you are coming out of school for the first time and are not sure what direction to move in, consider seeking out informational interviews from professionals who are already working in the perspective sector you are interested in. Ask these professionals what it has been like and what made them choose their career direction. This will allow you to gather information and make an informed decision about what job to apply for.

Use the network

After graduation, we often have a social network that is comprised of friends, managers you have worked for and professors. What many students neglect to develop is a professional network of industry specialists who have already started their careers. Joining an industry association is a great way to get to know others in your industry and look for a mentor. A mentor is a learning experience, it’s an opportunity for you to build a relationship with an experienced professional and gather insight about your industry, and the professional world in general. Another great way to build your network is to consider volunteering positions are also a great way to grow your skills, improve your resume and network.

Advertisement

Research trends

Becoming visible and keeping updated on current events in your industry will make you a much more marketable candidate. Coming out of school you have the theory and understanding of your field as a whole; however, subscribing to business magazines and researching on current industry trends can really give you a big step in the right direction. Often there are new pieces of legislation coming out and professional designations that you can obtain which will help you to move forward in your career.

Advertisement

Make your resume more effective

For several students a common element which can significantly hold them back is their resume. Oftenrecent grads have a resume that has not transitioned from the “school format” yet. When you are out of university you have officially achieved all the rights and provisions of your industry to identify you as a professional. Your resume should reflect that. But how do you put forth your knowledge with limited experience? Consider using a functional or combinational resume. These resumes use a format that explains skill sets followed by explanations of how you are able to perform these skills. For instance, if you are a finance major and have completed some internships or projects on a certain topic and know you could perform successfully in the workplace, you may create a section for that ability. You can follow this with two to three examples of how you worked with that skill along with a short description of the knowledge you have of it. Always ensure that your resume puts forth your most relevant positions of your field.

Advertisement

Another common concern that recent graduates have is the fact that they have worked a lot of service jobs and aren’t sure how to use these positions on their resume. Consider using the transferable skills such as math, analytical, sales, organization and communication skills. These skills are transferable and valuable. When editing your resume still list your positions and keep the focus on the parts of the job that will be the most useful and interesting to a new employer.

Finally, never let setbacks get you down. Your career, especially the beginning, will be full of ups and downs. How you respond to and learn from your experiences will set the tone for your career. Always keep in mind what made you passionate about your career decision in the first place.

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