From college to corporate: 5 tricks to transition to the “real world”

As you turn the tassel on your graduation cap, your family and friends in the stadium rise and cheer – a weight has been lifted, and there’s not a worry in the world… Until a few weeks (or months) later, when you realize your career as a college student is over.


Trust me – I understand. I recently went through this transition when I graduated from college in December. I left my campus for a full-time corporate job, and it can be scary to realize that college does not teach you everything you need to know about life!


While “adulting” can be intimidating, there are steps that you can take to ease the burden. And make the transition as smooth as possible. Here are my top five tips:


1. Create a routine for yourself.

For more than 20 years, we have gone to school every weekday and squeezed our other responsibilities in when we had the chance. Whether it’s doing your homework on Monday at midnight after binge-watching a Netflix series or cleaning your room on a Wednesday afternoon. When working, your schedule will likely be more rigid than what you are used to.


Now, more than ever, it will be necessary to build structure into every week and schedule some downtime for yourself. A major change that I am still working on: regulating my sleep schedule and setting my alarm early enough that I start the day feeling energized (that means no snoozing!).


2. Get that budget started!

No matter what the next step is for you, it’s important to keep a financial mindset as your income changes. Create a budget for yourself and keep track of your purchases to find patterns in your spending. Also, now’s the time to invest in important things! While it may seem like a great idea to drop everything and leave for a Mediterranean vacation as soon as you start earning a steady income, other investments (professional wardrobe, reliable car, 401k, etc.) will help you out in the long run.


3. Set goals for yourself and take steps toward those goals every day.

Unfortunately, there is no course curriculum laid out for your life journey. It is important to set goals for yourself, so you can progress in ways that you can feel proud of. Be sure your goals are ambitious but achievable. Long-term goals are great, but there needs to be an action plan consisting of short-term goals to hit those big milestones.


Personally, I keep a list of professional goals visible on my whiteboard at work and have a list of personal goals on my mirror at home. These serve as a constant reminder of what I am working toward.


4. Discover the importance of networking.

Networking is something that should never be considered overrated. As a recruiter, networking has become a major part of my job—it has shown me how much we can learn from people in our industry. A few tips: Build out your LinkedIn network with professionals who you look up to, find a Meetup in your area to meet people with similar interests and nurture your existing relationships.


5. Embrace learning new things!

The “real world” is fun! Accept that you have a lot to learn, as all of us do. And there is no end to learning. Most importantly, enjoy this journey – these may be stressful times, but they can also be some of the most memorable.


So, take the leap, and enjoy. Real-life can be as fun as college as long as you’re willing to realize that nothing extraordinary can happen within your comfort zone! Need help finding a job? Contact us for a consultation.

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