Getting Started

4 Must-Dos for Making the Transition From College to Work

Written by Peter Jones

The transition out of college and into working life can be a bumpy one. There’s more competition for fewer jobs than ever. Here are 4 tips for how to maximize your chances of a smooth path into your career.

1. Find an Internship Early On

A challenging internship in the field you’d like to enter is one of the best ways to set yourself up for career success while you’re still in school. This shows initiative, your ability to win competitive positions, and gives you a bunch of professional experience in your field before you’ve even graduated. Make sure to pick one that is as challenging, prestigious, and productive as possible—not to mention one that is a good fit for you. Do a bit of research first, then make the absolute most of it. Do your best to dazzle your superiors and keep in touch. They could be great resources for recommendations in your first job applications.

2. Pretend you’re already in your career

While you’re working your part-time jobs and internships in college, don’t just treat them like side work while you finish your degree. Treat them like your first—or fifth!—adult job in your field. Treat your undergraduate present like your career future and you’ll be setting yourself up very well to step into that future when the time comes.

3. Reach out and create a network

It is crucial to be proactive and show the kind of initiative recruiters look for in an applicant. Go above and beyond every chance you get. Seek out mentors at your internships and jobs and express your interest to maximize your potential—and your resume. Set goals for yourself and keep yourself honest so you make sure to meet them—and keep meeting them.

4. Get promoted

There are always opportunities for advancement and promotion. Seek these out early and often. Set up job alerts. Try working for larger companies that have multiple avenues to jobs higher up the ladder. Don’t get complacent in any one position. If you let everyone know you’re hungry, eager to keep learning and advancing, and you can prove your mettle, eventually your bosses and coworkers will know to think of you first when opportunities arise.

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About the author

Peter Jones

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