How to enter the workforce after graduating from university

Moving directly from university to the real world of  work can be rather a surprise. Swapping the last few years’ worth of lectures, assignments, projects and exams with late night parties for a Dolly Parton 9-5 career is something of a dramatic shift in lifestyle. As students begin the adjustment, we've created five useful tips for directing and integrating them into their next stage of life. Starting your career is an exciting time but it's important to know what to expect.

For years, you have worked hard and built the expertise and skills that will support launching your career. All you have to do now is get out there and begin exploring what you've imagined.

But don't wait to come up against any obstacles. Seeking the perfect career can be challenging, and taking the wrong approach with your co-workers or managers will damage you long after you land a role. Thankfully you 're not the first or only person to go through this battle.

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Develop a routine and a professional approach

The versatility that accompanied your university timetable undoubtedly meant you had plenty of free time per week between lectures and tutorials. This meant that you had the flexibility of time to do things as and when you decided to. Springing off from this and into a scheduled weekly 40 hour job will take a lot of adjusting.

The value of timing should not be under-estimated in the corporate realm. If you overlook punctuality at university, then leave slightly earlier to get to work promptly and guarantee that you have a planner to document the information (date / location etc) of every briefing and deadline. Using the planner as well to maintain count of every work obligation and take note of any new projects when they come your way. Finally, comply with the dress code that your employer wants you to wear.

You don’t stop learning beyond the classroom

After taking your last university exam, you may have thought the learning stopped but in fact it only continues when you join a job position. There is expertise, skills, concepts, patterns, case studies and structures offline that will be relevant and appropriate from your degree, but there will also be an entire range of additional knowledge you need to pick up to be competent. Therefore, to get up to speed, you'll need to do further learning and reading simultaneously in and outside of office hours.

One aspect that should not be underlined is how important it is to keep up with any changes that are significant to your business. This knowledge will give you valuable perspectives to consider when delivering reports / presentations and the possible future guidance in the industry.

Taking different approach to difficult circumstances

It will inevitably happen that we are put in tough roles and circumstances. You may, for example, find yourself working on a group project where not everyone pulls their weight. The appropriate response to this at university will be to inform the professor, who in effect will award them a lower score. You will need to be supportive of the bigger picture in the workplace – because it could have a detrimental effect on morale and complicate any future tasks that could include working with those concerned.

In addition, you may be dissatisfied with your heavy workload or frustrated at a senior's lack of guidance, but ultimately you must learn to regulate your emotions. Alternatively, you'll learn to handle the negatives and implement your own innovative ideas as well as positively shift perceptions.

It's all new! Ensure risks are taken, make mistakes and then learn from them. Every experience, regardless how bad it may feel right now, will in the future be a beneficial learning opportunity for you.

Seek a Mentor

Acknowledge the importance of mentors. Seeking and maintaining a relationship with a person who is more established than you is an important, strategic advantage and vital for career progression. Each employee is responsible for managing his or her own career.

Make yourself more aware to older employees. For office parties your social circle might be more enjoyable, but those colleagues who are a decade or so older than you might be able to assist with your career.

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