Graduate guide to professional life

Graduate guide to professional life

While making the transition from being a student to being a fully-fledged professional is an incredibly exciting time in somebody's life, it can also be a nerve-wracking one. If, however, you prepare correctly for the move, there is nothing to worry about. Here are a few tips to start your professional life on the right foot.

Prepare for a lot more diversity

In university or college, you were most probably surrounded by people who were around your age group and, quite possibly, from very similar backgrounds as yourself. In the workplace, things will not be so uniform.

You are likely to be working at close quarters with people of all sorts of age groups and from all sorts of backgrounds, many of whom will have life experiences and resultant opinions on the world that you had never considered. For anybody who leaves third level education thinking they know it all, the sudden introduction to worldviews that are very distant from their own can be one of the most alarming and unexpected challenges.

Optimise your professional skills

While University is often focussed on the achievements and success of the individual, working environments are more often focussed upon the performance of the team. In order to succeed in such an environment, it is crucial you develop strong business skills.

This is not about getting everybody to see things your way. It is about being sensitive to other people's views on the project at hand. Listen to and learn from the people with more experience than you. Don't be shy about adding your own opinion to the mix, but think hard about it before you do.

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Get ready for hard work

While beavering away at a degree and putting in long hours in the library, many students think that nobody in the world could possibly be dealing with an assignment the size of theirs or putting such a crazy amount of hours into their work. What they don't realise is that, in the real world, people spend 7 – 9 hours, 5 days a week, working their fingers to the bone in the pursuit of their careers.

The workload does not reduce when you complete your degree and enter the workforce: it either stays the same or enlarges, and you don't get to take a few hours off to watch a box set when you feel burned out. Get ready to push your stamina level to the maximum.

Make sure you get the best possible start to your professional life. Keep in mind these key tips and prepare yourself properly for your career path.