College Student to Employee…4 Challenges You May Encounter As You Make the Transition
Posted on 02.28.17
By Lauren Andrews, Human Resources Manager
The step into your first career is a challenging and exciting time. The universities that we partner with to recruit our staff prepare their students better now than they ever have with a focus on interviewing skills, social media presence, and the value of experience building.
These pillars of developing a professional image will certainly help students on the job market, but once hired, how do you prepare for a smooth transition from student to employee?
What are some surprises and challenges you may encounter as you transition into your first “real” job?
Believe it or not, your all-nighter study sessions may not compare to the more structured days of being in an office environment for 8+ solid hours, day after day. Many new hires have mentioned their surprise at how tired they felt by the end of the day.
Solution: Prepare for this and make sure you are breaking up your day. Take quick walks up and down the stairs, make sure that you are getting away from your desk for lunch, and try to go outdoors at least once during the day. Make sure you get enough sleep!
In school, you probably took for granted that you would receive feedback on your assignments and projects. While you might expect that kind of feedback in the workplace, many organizations, our Firm included, are constantly evolving in this area! Do not be surprised if you do not get a lot of specific feedback at first. Oftentimes, we get wrapped up in our work and do not think to give feedback (plus, it is also not always easy to do.) Unlike your professors whose job it was to correct you and lead you to improvement, feedback may not be top of mind for your supervisors.
Solution: Ask for feedback! But most importantly, be open to it. Open your conversations by saying – “I really want to learn how to do this better, it will really help me if you can give me guidance on…”or “tell me what I could have done to improve…”
Making change happen/seeing results
In the instant gratification mode of smart devices and social media, we have grown accustomed to finding our answers quickly, making changes, and moving on. In a professional environment, there is often more vetting that needs to take place and a simple question may lead to more questions and a bigger project.
Solution: Do not get disgruntled, but instead try to observe patterns of thinking and barriers to change. To help this process, make sure you are pulling in all of the information when addressing issues or questions. Try to consider multiple positions and look at the big picture. If you pull out all the facts and present ideas from multiple sides of the issue, it will go a long way to developing a solution or change that inspires confidence from your stakeholders. Before you know it, you will be making positive changes that produce results.
The culmination of values, norms, behaviors, and expectations that define an organization are as present in the workplace as they were at your alma mater.
Solution: While you will certainly want to learn the technical “bread and butter” of your role as quickly as possible, do not underestimate the value of understanding the culture and how your unique strengths can best fit and add value to the organization.