Make the Leap - College to Career
• Make the most of your time at Muhlenberg. Learn what you can and take advantage of all possible resources (The Career Center, for example.)
• Don’t wait for opportunities to fall in your lap – go after them!
• Pump your leadership activities for all they’re worth. Employers seek candidates who demonstrate initiative, enthusiasm, leadership potential, and can demonstrate these accomplishments on campus.
• Do the same with your internships (You are what you make of your experiences!).
• Network, network, and network. It will be an important career management tool throughout your work life. Networking opportunities exist all around you, on campus and off. See Networking article.
• Don’t run up credit card bills (in fact, try to pay them off). You want your career decisions to be based on what will be satisfying, not necessarily what will help to pay for last year’s spring break. Also, a few employers actually check your credit history (really!)
• Know it will not be easy. You’ll be making a major life change. This is the first time the grades and paths to promotion won’t be as clear-cut. Expect it to be a learning experience.
• Pick up a copy of "If They Only Told Me: Advice for Seniors from Alumni" at the Career Center for more great tips on surviving and thriving after graduation.
• There’s no such thing as a perfect job or perfect boss. Even with your self-reflection, research and preparation, there is still a chance that your first position won’t be all that you had imagined. Do a reality check – are your expectations reasonable? Before you jump ship, give it enough time to know whether or not they are a good fit.
• Practice excellent communication skills. You will be judged on how well you communicate in writing, by email, on the phone, and in person. Be professional. Always use proper spelling, punctuation, and grammar.
• Be a problem solver. Show excellent listening skills. Keep organized. Always keep a positive attitude.
• Be a sponge – learn all you can about your organization and your job. Find a mentor.
• Have realistic expectations – training you takes time. Be patient with the process.
• Start to determine what will be a realistic budget. What will you absolutely need for living expenses? What would be nice, but not essential?
• Get ready for lifelong learning. In today’s economy, organizations are constantly changing, requiring employees to be adaptable and able to learn new skills. Be open to learning – it will be the key to a successful career!
Take a look at these books and many others in the On the Job Success section of the Career Library for more great tips on "Making the Leap!"
► Have No Career Fear, Ben Cohen-Leadholm, Ari Gerzon-Kessler, and Rachel Skerritt, 2004.
► I Went to College For This? True Stuff About Life in the Business World – and How to Make Your Way Through It, Garrett Soden, 1994.
► Life After School Explained, Cap and Compass. 2002.
► The Ultimate Office Survival Guide: Strategies for Effective Business Writing, Leonard Rogoff, 2002.
► Welcome to the Professional World, Gary Martin, Ed.D., Second Edition, 2001.
► Welcome to the Real World: You’ve Got an Education, Now Get a Life, Stacy Kravetz, 2004
► Work This Way, Bruce Tulgan, 1998.