From College to Career: 5 Ways to Make Life After College Great

The thought of college to career may be terrifying considering you have to soon leave the comfy confines of your college campus. Those pesky graduation emails reminding you to order your cap and gown have arrived. The inevitable can’t be put off any longer, graduation is here and soon you will be in the professional world with a career of your own. Your past four years (or maybe five or six) have been an amazing journey, filled with memories you will never forget. College has become comfortable and now it’s time for everything to become a bit uncomfortable. It also doesn’t ease your fears that every single person you speak to reiterates, “College years are the best of your life, it’s all downhill from here.”

Don’t fret though, this couldn’t be further from the truth. College is a great time, but it’s not all downhill from there. We, as young professionals, have an amazing opportunity to build our unique career path and help a company succeed. Here are a few tips, compiled from Amanda White’s article in the Asset, to help make your career great and ensure your best days are not behind you.

 Don’t just punch the time clock.

1. 8 to 5 jobs are a thing of the past. Work shouldn’t be a place where you go to put in your eight hours and get home as quickly as possible. If you look at your job as just a job, you won’t be as successful and most importantly, you won’t be happy. We must look at our first position after college as a stepping stone to building the career we want. Handle this first position with passion and ambition and people will take note.

Get to know your superiors.

2. Ask them to lunch or go sit in their office. While some people may seem more intimidating than others, remember they were once in your shoes. This means they have the best advice. Give it some time and you will soon see why your superiors do what they do and how they ascended the corporate ladder. When your superior is unavailable, other employees may start to turn to you for answers.

Study the ins and outs of your firm.

3. Discover the firm’s history and learn what impact you will make. When you first join, you may not see how the task you’re completing fits into the firm as a whole or impacts the client. It’s important to learn how you affect client satisfaction and how you can help the firm accomplish their goals. By doing so, you’ll show you’re thinking like an owner and have the firm’s best interest in mind.

Become a sponge.

4. Learn, learn, and continue to learn. Our college education may have taught us a lot, but we still have a lot to learn about how the business world works. Ask a ton of questions and always look for ways you can add value. This will show you’re interested and looking for ways to help at all times.

Speak up and get involved.  

5. Let your opinion and ideas be heard. Don’t be afraid to speak up and get involved with a program the firm offers. At Anders, we encourage all new employees to make an impact in the community and in our Young Professionals Group. We support a charity each year that is voted upon by the employees and we support throughout the year. Accounting firms aren’t only about the technical side of things. We believe strongly in getting involved in the community and participating in networking events. Pick something you’re really interested in and get carried away!

There’s no question that the transition from college to career is difficult. It’s not easy cutting out those cherished naps and putting on slacks instead of sweats. However, by taking a few of these suggestions life can continue to be filled with purpose and fun. Having a career you’re passionate about can be even more rewarding than the brief time you spent in college. Now, go forth and conquer the professional world! And remember, your best days are always ahead of you!

Source: the Asset, March 2014 by Amanda White