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7 Ways to Understand and Improve Your College to Career Transition
In the life of every person, there are milestones where life passes from one season to another. The first milestone in life comes immediately after birth, when a child begins to walk. This benchmark is literally the first step that gives a child the freedom to act on their own; to get where they want to go with their own will. The next point is to speak for the first time. This is a historic occasion that begins to evolve the way we connect and communicate thoughts and emotions with the world around us. The start of school is another reference point, which lays the foundations and cultivates learning, intellect and understanding. Graduation is one of the major achievements. Here comes the freedom to leave college with all the knowledge and wisdom you’ve learned and make your mark in the professional world. Until we graduate, we can only look to the future to find our dreams. After graduation, we have the power and opportunity to actualize those dreams into actual reality.
We all have a dream, we hope we dream. If you ask any young child about his or her dream, he or she will tell you things that may be beyond your imagination. After graduation, we receive a qualification that has the potential to open many doors for us. Something that says, “satisfactory completion of course study” and “I have the capacity and ability to learn.” However, when it comes time to turn that learning ability into cash flow from a career, many college graduates are finding that the road to finding your dreams (or dream career) isn’t paved the way it was promised. . The time period between graduation and finding a career is getting longer and longer. When the time comes to touch your dreams and make them come true, will you be ready for the transition?
If we prepare for our future and graduate in the right direction, the opportunities for growth can be endless. This is a more educated and (hopefully) responsible citizen, able to advance himself and make a contribution to society. But if we are already in school pursuing a degree and getting an education, how else can we prepare for this historic transition? Is there anything else that can be done to improve the chances of success? The short answer is, “yes!” Here are 7 insights that will prepare you for graduation and improve your transition to finding a career and realizing your dreams.
1. A college degree does not guarantee you a job
Let’s get one thing out of the way first; nobody cares about you being “A-for-Effort” (or you’re A+ for that matter). What was true 40 years ago (what your parents told you) is no longer true today. Just because you’ve spent the last few years of your life struggling doesn’t mean anyone will hire you. Although a college education is one of the best ways to increase your earning potential throughout your career, it does not guarantee it. If you learned anything in college, you should have learned that nothing is given; everything is earned. The same goes for your transition from college to your career. The diploma does not give you the right to interview and work. You must earn it as if you have just earned your degree; You remember.
2. College AS/BS are the New HS Degree
Go ahead, punch your pearls. I know you can’t believe what I just said. After all the hours of sleep you’ve lost and the money spent on coffee beans, how dare I compare the two! Now that you have calmed down, let’s take a logical and educated look at the matter. One of the things you learn in college is that the more specialized you are, the better your chances of selection. The higher the degree (ie Bachelor’s, Master’s and Ph.D.), the more specialized you are in your field and the more money you can earn. So if a high school diploma is just a general education that prepares you for a bachelor’s in a specific subject or field, you are still in the general population of that field. Everyone who graduates with you will have one of those pieces of paper just like you, and believe it or not, there are a lot of people who graduate. What will set you apart from the rest?
3. Get on a first-name basis with your professors
Now I’m not sure what size college you go to, but if it’s a big university, this is definitely for you. This is one of the first things you can do to set yourself apart from the rest of the general population. Make yourself a name, not just a college ID number. Many times, a professor may have existing connections in the field, especially if they are working in it as well! You never know what opportunities communication with your professor may present, such as specialized office hours and communication while in college, and personal letters of recommendation afterward. It’s not just about what you know, but who you know and how you know it.
4. Maintain constant communication with your adviser/counselor
How is your college experience so far? Are you having fun and living life? If yes, then I am sure you want to continue and are expecting to graduate on time in the near future. Sometimes during the years of study, program requirements change along the way. If so, you probably don’t want to approach your “senior” year and find that you’re missing courses from your track or have taken courses and spent money unnecessarily; something that could have been avoided by communicating with your advisor. Going to see them at least once a semester will prevent this from happening.
5. You will join social organizations, make sure you join a professional one
We know you didn’t come to college just for the books, so enjoy your years while you can. Experience new things, make friends and make memories. However, in the midst of it all, don’t forget about your ultimate goals of graduating and pursuing your career. One of the ways to do this is to complete the social organizations in which you join at least one professional. This may seem like a trivial task, but it’s one way to start developing your network while you’re still in college. You may have the opportunity to develop your career skills before you have to take yourself too seriously.
6. Look for and take advantage of opportunities to gain experience
Remember how we discussed earlier that the bachelor’s degree is the new high school degree? This is one way to prepare yourself and gain an advantage. Separate yourself from the general population of people who love exactly what you do. Everyone will have a degree, but few will actually have work experience in their field, just aspirational dreams. This can come in the form of an internship, professional development seminars, university labs, job shadowing programs, and a myriad of other ways to prepare you for your post-graduation transition. Furthermore, you know what you want to do; Do you know if you actually like doing it? Imagine what it would be like to spend years focused on a future career doing something, only to hate it immensely after doing it. If so, what have you done with the last four years of your life? More importantly, what are you going to do with the next four years? Avoid an experience many college graduates go through by exposing yourself, through opportunities, to understanding it first hand.
7. Don’t wait until your last semester to visit your career services center
I repeat, DO NOT wait until your last semester to visit the career services center. This is the last but certainly not the least important of all. I urge you not to make the mistake of dragging this out; as most graduates do. You spend the first three years carefree and having fun, only to spend your senior year trying to prepare for graduation and cramming all your career prep assignments into one semester. If that’s you, don’t betray yourself right away! You lack valuable information and resources that will help prepare you to enter the workforce with energy and expertise. Services such as CV creation and rewriting, employer workshops, interview skills and mock interviews, career advice and job fairs are just some of the options that may be available to you as a low-cost student or at no cost. These services will cost you hundreds of dollars after graduation if you don’t take advantage. The point is to make money at some point, not keep spending it, right?
When the time comes to touch your dreams and make them come true, will you be ready for the transition? Will you be as prepared, equipped and ready to walk in the direction of your dreams? I hope you now have the knowledge and wisdom to pursue the career you want and actualize your dreams. You have the power to make your mark in the professional world. Will you take advantage of your opportunity?
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