The day you’ve dreamed of has finally come, you’ve graduated from college, and you’ve accepted your first full-time, grown-up job. What happens next?
Is it time to jump into the workforce, further your education even more, or immediately take the first job available and try to pay down your college debt
With so many different options available, how are you supposed to know which is best? The truth is, everyone has their own path and the decisions you make at this point must be decided by you and only you.
However, there are several resources out there that can help you out in this decision process. And we hope this article can provide you with a little bit of guidance as well.
Read on and discover how the steps below can help you make the adjustment from student to employee and thrive in your new position.
Create a Budget and Pay Down Your Debts
One thing you don’t want to worry about in your first year on the job is not having enough money to meet your expenses. If you budgeted in college, this is one of the reasons why, so it wouldn’t seem so unfamiliar once you were out in the working world.
However, even if you didn’t, you can learn. You know what your salary should be, so your next step is to assess all of your expenses. If you have student loans to repay, keep in mind that there may be money saving options.
You can use a calculator to see what your savings can be if you refinance or aggregate multiple loans. As for the rest of your budget, make sure that in addition to necessities, you are putting away some money in your company’s retirement plan and building an emergency savings account.
Have Realistic Expectations
You are in an entry-level position. This means that you probably won’t get the most interesting tasks and your duties might not even resemble what you ultimately hope to be doing in your career.
Few people have a thrilling job straight out of college. Focus on what you can learn, communicating effectively and having a good attitude.
And at the same time, don’t dismiss the power of the internet and how it can instantly put you ahead of the competition. Even by just registering your personal name as a domain name and going live with a simple little blog, this could be the difference between getting hired or passed over.
Remember that you are part of a team now, and what you do affects your coworkers. It’s also a good idea to be observant in those first few weeks until you get a better sense of the culture in your office.
The work relationships that you build may be the most important element for success in your career. If you networked through college, this is no time to stop.
If you didn’t take part in networking, it’s time to start. And just like we highlighted in the previous point, the internet can make this process a whole lot easier.
If you aren’t currently on LinkedIn, make sure you get on it immediately. Start to build out your profile, resume and expertise, while also connecting with others in your industry. You never know who someone might know, and being well connected on LinkedIn is a huge asset to have.
You can do this both in person and online by taking opportunities to join any professional organizations, attend seminars and connect with other alumni from your college who are also in your field.
Have a Plan
Where do you hope to be in one year, five years or even ten years?
The most successful people are those who specifically identify what they want and go after it. And this all starts right when you graduate from college and start to build a story and path for yourself.
If you want to climb the corporate ladder, find out what the best way to do that is. If you hope to gain the experience that will get you a foothold elsewhere, learn as much as you can about the place you eventually want to be working for.
How to Make the Most of Your Time Right Out of College
Throughout all of this, keep up your networking and be sure to center people in whatever you do. There’s a difference in being competitive and getting ahead by undermining or hurting other people.
There may be a few cutthroat business environments where you can get away with this for a while at least, but in general, people will remember you and recommend you for promotion if they feel you are an asset to their team and not someone who is only out for themselves.