College Graduates…Don’t Derail Your Career Before it Starts!

College Graduates…Don’t Derail Your Career Before it Starts!

Seven Top Tips for Transitioning from College to Career

You’re a college graduate! You’re finally heading into your first full-time, “real” job. Now is the time to set a positive trajectory for your entire career, and here are some simple considerations to maximize your chances for success.

Look the part.

There’s a real mindset shift that needs to occur around your wardrobe as you head into your first “real” job. This often requires an outlay of cash, so think about this as you receive money for graduation. Your parents may be willing to help, as well.

What you wear to work varies widely with your occupation, setting, even the part of the country you live in. Here are the non-negotiables:

*Dress at, or one level above, your position. It makes you look professional and promotable.

*Business casual does not equal “sloppy.” Clothes must always be clean, in good repair, and work-appropriate.

*Make investments in your wardrobe. Many college students have “throw away” clothes; this will not serve you well. Better to purchase a few, well-constructed items than 20 pieces that begin to fall apart almost immediately.

*Find stores, and specific brands, that work for your body type. It is a huge time-saver if you know where to go to find clothes that look good on you and fit you well.

*Find a tailor. It is unusual for women, and virtually unheard of for men, to find a suit that fits properly off the rank.

*For the ladies: Sexy and revealing may be great for Saturday night, but not in a work environment. Opt for conservative.

  1. Respect the system.

If you step into a new job with the attitude that you know more than people who’ve been there for years-and think you should be in charge-you do nothing to help your professional image as a team player.

Better for you to learn the ropes and the politics, and then find small ways to make changes and contribute to improving your work environment.

If you act like you’re already in charge from day one, you may never actually get a chance to be in charge.

  1. Offer up your unique talents and skills.

The flip side of point #2 is that you may very well have some areas of expertise, such as technology, that would greatly benefit your employer.

It’s all in the presentation: make sure that, by offering up your ability to revamp the website or set up databases, you’re not inadvertently putting anyone down.

The difference is subtle, but important. If the office secretary sees you as someone who is willing to help her and can make her look good in the process, you’ll be a hit.

If, on the other hand, the secretary sees you as someone who doesn’t think she’s capable of doing her job, she’ll resist any efforts you try to make.

Stay tuned for the completion of Seven Top Tips for College Graduates next week!

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