From College Student to Working Professional

As every college student approaches graduation, each of them has the same concern on their minds. What now? For many graduates, landing their ideal job role would be perfect coming out of college, only if life was perfect. As college students, we have made being a student our identity for so long that the transition into the professional world appears intimidating. 

Most prestigious universities offer networking opportunities and internships to help students migrate into the professional world better by post-graduation. However, not all students receive such luxury. In addition, those networking and training opportunities may or may not secure the student’s professional and financial future after college.

It is vital to develop a strategic plan for creating a wide range of career opportunities in their profession. Students should focus on gaining as much experience and skills in their industry to obtain full-time work in the future. This process can be challenging because opportunities are given based on connections. Being a young adult can be an uphill battle entering the professional world.

Some challenges we as students tend to contend with are working professionals who have been in the industry longer and companies seeking candidates with five-plus years of experience for entry-level roles. These are just a few challenges graduates face just trying to obtain entry-level positions. Society has placed a weighed requirement for college education being a necessity to succeed, yet the opportunities for the roles in the field desired do not have space for you. Such experience appears to be counterproductive.

However, a few character traits many companies look for in their candidates is self-driven and determination. A driven and determined individual cannot be easily defeated or discouraged from settling for any role. If it takes researching companies and top officials to connect with on LinkedIn or take a pay cut within reason to obtain their ideal positions, that is what they will do. Such qualities are noticed by those around you, but most importantly, the right employers.

Students should seek to use resources at their colleges to craft solid and appealing resumes tailored to the industry of their interest. Writing a solid resume filled with profession-related experiences, achievements, extracurricular activities, and a list of your top 10 skills can be helpful. In addition, having recommendations or reviews on work performed can go a long way for potential employers to know the value you bring to their business.

LinkedIn is a great platform to connect with working professionals in your desired industry or company. If you are anything like me, being an introvert can be a disadvantage when engaging on LinkedIn. LinkedIn requires users to interact with other professionals to socialize and network in the work search. This platform helps land work and make connections. It is important to remember success requires stepping out of your comfort zone, and I tell myself that daily. I dread socializing with strangers more than I must, but my success depends on my social skills, and so does yours. Start small and find some commonalities with other professionals you can relate to help warm up during the initial conversation.

For most, this journey of transitioning from a college student to a working professional might not be as simple as others but keep moving forward. I am still trying to break into my desired industry; it is one of my most complex challenges to solve. However, my determination and self-drive would not allow me to give up or settle for anything less than working in the industry of my preference. This mindset applies to every college student experiencing a similar situation. 

Remaining encouraged during the job search phase is critical even when you feel like giving up. There may come the point when you feel like you have nothing left to continue moving forward, but that is when you push even harder past the limits. Always remember that your talents and uniqueness are needed somewhere. You owe yourself to leave your mark as the next big creator or innovator in your industry.

Who knows, we may cross paths in the future, and if you remember reading this article, I would love to chat about your journey. Good luck!