Making the Transition from Student to Professional
By Kristi Sproul, AgCareers.com
College graduation season is approaching, which translates into most organizations welcoming new graduates to their workforce. While several new graduates will have had previous internship experience which has helped groom them for a full-time position, the transition from student to professional can still be challenging for both the new hire and the organization which they’re joining. The new graduates will likely experience a lifestyle change, while the organization must prepare to onboard talent that still has a lot of learning to do.
Here are some tips to help each party experience a successful transition.
Your job description is just the beginning. If you want to succeed in today’s workforce and make a name for yourself, you’ll have to do a lot more than what you got hired to do. In fact, your job description is just a scratch on the surface of what you should be doing. Always be on the lookout for new project and collaborations with other groups!
There is such a thing as a “bad question.” Questions that you did not utilize your resources to find an answer for are bad questions. Questions about frustrations you may have that are not accompanied by a solution-focused idea are bad questions. You should most certainly ask questions (lots of them!) at your job, but ensure that you aren’t asking out of laziness.
Adjust your lifestyle. Several young adults who were high achievers on campus find themselves with more free time once they are employed full-time. It can be an adjustment to not have group projects or club meetings in the evening. Use your newfound free time wisely. For the other type of college student, no longer can you sleep in after a late weeknight! Completing a project late isn’t going to just mean a drop in a letter grade, it will mean a drop in your supervisor’s confidence in you.
Your manager’s success is as important as yours. While it’s not spelled out in your job description, an important role that you will have is supporting your manager’s success within the organisation. This doesn’t mean brown-nosing, instead, it means making their life easier and earning their trust. Do this and they are more likely to take you with them as they climb the ladder.
Be clear about expectations. New hires have a lot to learn, especially when it’s their first full-time job. Ensure that expectations about dress code, social media policies, travel vouchers and all other company nuances are crystal clear. Most often expectations are not met because they weren’t communicated clearly in the first place.
Be prepared to manage generational differences. There are now four distinct generations in the workforce; Gen Z, Gen Y, Gen X and Baby Boomers. Each of these generations was raised in a different period, has a different view of the workplace and communicates differently. By learning how to manage relationships across generations your organisation will be more successful.
Utilize new graduate’s collegiate connections. Remember that these new hires are still very much connected to their universities. Take advantage of the relationships these former students have with faculty, staff, and current students to promote your organization. Utilize the new graduates to staff a career fair booth or make in-class presentations.
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