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How to handle your first job after graduating college

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After finishing 4 years of college, it’s time to enter the professional world and to start your career. Congratulations, you are now ready for the real world! For some, this is exciting. But for others, you are now entering a different territory.

Do you remember how you felt when you first entered college as a freshman? Everything was new: rushing to find your classes, struggling to find new buildings, and meeting new people. But, by your second and third year, you may have finally figured it all out. As year four rolled around, you are already as comfortable at your college as you were back at home.

Well, it’s time to feel like a freshman again. Your first job out of college is going to be unpredictable. However, you don’t have to come in to your new job completely clueless. In this article about handling entry-level jobs, we can explain a few things you should expect from your first job out of college and what “entry level” really means.

What does “entry level” mean?

An entry level job is meant to get your foot in the door at a company. You are not expected to have all the “set skills”, but competition is high. Don’t expect or assume you’ll get the first job just because you have a degree. You will have to sit down and look carefully on all the accomplishments inside and outside of college that you have done and put them into detail on your resume. For instance, did you have a part-time job, an internship, group work, or perhaps part of a campus organization? If you can leverage that to show you’ve learned discipline and leadership skills, this can help you  stand out over others who are applying to the same job as you.

You need to have good communication skills.

No matter what job you are in, having a good set of communication skills for writing and talking is essential. The ability to communicate clearly and effectively both in print and in person will help you in the long run. Many employers look for this type of candidate, especially if this is your first job out of college.

Why? In the workforce, the ability to communicate is critical. Whether you are talking to another employee in person, attending a meeting, or emailing, communication skills are a “must-have” for every employee. You can’t just say you are good at communicating, employers need to see your communication skills in action too.

In order to showcase that you have a good set of communication skills, express it through internships, jobs or other experiences. Another important thing to look out for is to make sure that everyone can see that you can communicate well. For example, via your LinkedIn bio, social media title, or your cover letter. Your message should be clear and straight to the point.

Your attitude matters more than ever.

In college, you just needed to turn in your assignments on time and get them done. However, that is not the case anymore as you enter your first job out of college. There will be a lot more to do. It doesn’t matter what task you are given or how well it’s done, it’s how you do it. Do you find yourself rolling your eyes when you are given a task you don’t want to do? Are you paying attention during your meetings or do you often zone out? Once you have a secure position on your career path, it’s not about getting the work done, it’s about finding a smarter and better way to get the work done. It’s always important to be engaged and enthusiastic.

Never stop learning.

Even though you have your degree it does not mean the learning stops. Your first job will come with a lot of new challenges. You will be in a position where you’ll work overtime to meet your deadlines/projects. The pay is not going to be what you want, you may not like what you are given, and everything that you do will be judged.

Enjoy the process and accept the challenges you’ll be facing at work. Picture this job as a one-year boot camp to gain the experience and expertise into the career of your dreams. Don’t be someone who just does the task; excel at your job every day. If you want to get out of the “entry-level” category, do excellent work. Like I said earlier, in no time you’ll feel like a senior in college. You’ll be comfortable in what you do, joyful, and in charge of your future.

Good luck!

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