Congratulations!!!! It’s time to move from college student to professional. Your plan was simple: graduate, land an awesome job, and then breeze into work like you’ve been ready your whole life. But wait, you only know how to be a student and have no idea how to become an everyday professional. Hello nine-to-five work days and business dress and goodbye summer vacation and personalized schedules. You had no idea how different this world would be from your fun free flowing college life. Although the changes can be intense, BYU IS is here to help! Here are three easy steps to help you transition from a naïve college student to a qualified professional.
1. Professionalize your schedule.
Most college students are lucky enough to personalize their school schedules to only work in the mornings on only a few days a week. The rest of the time we can work, sleep, socialize, eat, run errands, or do homework whenever we want to. However, the majority of post-graduate jobs are not that flexible. They’re typically 8 to 5 with an hour lunch break in between. To deal with this adjustment, organize your schedule and your sleeping pattern so that you are home and ready for bed by 10 pm every weeknight and are up and ready before 8 am each morning so you are well rested and ready to rock.
With this new schedule change you’ll have to find time to run errands, go to appointments, and schedule family/friend time. One efficient way to easily plan your week is incorporating a calendar on your phone and computer. You can easily sync it up with all your devices so you can always see what you have going on. Some top rated calendar services are: Microsoft Outlook, Google Calendar, Fruux, and Foogi. Or if you have Apple products you can always go simple with the iCloud Calendar.
Being organized not only helps you be more efficient and orderly but it can also help you advance in your career. Most of us probably claim we’re organized during the initial interview but your boss will quickly notice whether that’s true or not during the first few months of your job. The organized employees always get the raises first and the cleanliness of your desk will quickly let your employer know whether you’re ready for more responsibility or not. So why not start today? Get organized and get professional, it’s the best way to quick start your professional career now.
2. Professionalize your look.
Dress For the Job You Want
Every professional needs a few suits, a couple pairs of slacks, some skirts and blouses (if you’re a girl), some button down shirts, and several pairs of
comfortable, classy shoes. Start saving up and shopping for these professional clothes from professional brands like Banana Republic, Ralph Lauren. Department stores that carry brands like Banana Republic and Ralph Lauren (like Macy’s) tend to have sales during the middle of the week and have great large clearance sections which can come in handy if your budget is tight. When it comes to the professional world its always better to be overdressed. In a business meeting, you would look a lot better being the only one wearing a suit than the only one wearing jeans.
Clean Up Your Online Presence
Not only does your in person look have to be sleek and professional but your online presence needs to be top notch as well. Your social media not only defines you as a person but it gives you a certain brand as well. We live in a digital world, meaning much of what prospective employers know about you can be found online on either your social media or your close friends and family’s social media. Make sure that what they’re seeing is something you’re proud to show them. While they might not be able to find out if you’re proficient in excel from your Facebook page, they are able to see if you’re posting about skipping work, whether you know how to spell, and if you’re making responsible decisions. Before you start your new job (or even now if you’re still looking) be sure to go through your social media pages and clean them up. Be sure to also head over to LinkedIn and create an account where they can get to know more about the you, you want to show off (like that super fast typing speed you’ve always been so proud of).
3. Network, Network, Network.
Networking isn’t just about getting a promotion or a new job. It’s important to network with your co-workers to make new friends, network with interns and become a mentor, and network with the higher-ups and college friends at other companies. You never know what future doors you can open by just talking with the right people. Always be open to new opportunities and make the best of the opportunities you have. If you have trouble keeping in touch with friends, make it a networking priority. Schedule out lunch dates in advance using one of the multi device calendars we talked about, after all that’s what a professional would do.
It’s never too early to start networking. Although it is something a lot of people dread, and staying in your bubble at networking events is much less intimidating, it is something that is vital in today’s professional world. Today, promotions and opportunities are all about who you know. So instead of standing in the corner talking to your best coworker, get out there and get your foot in the door somewhere else. You never know what you could stumble upon.
Need some more business education? Head on over to BYU IS and see what courses we have to offer to help you get a head start in your professional career!