Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me Before My First Job Out of College

The transition from college life to working life is something that’s not discussed enough.

The transition from college life to working life is something that’s not discussed enough. I think this is partially because every person’s path after graduation is different, so the experiences aren’t the same for everyone. The time after graduation is interesting because your friends and peers are embarking on their next journey and heading in different directions. Some will continue on in school to get their masters and beyond, some will have a job lined up right after graduation, some will take longer to figure out what it is they want to do, some will travel, and all these paths are completely okay. Here are a few things I wish someone had told me before starting my first job after college.

  • Start thinking about a job search around the middle of your senior year. At least have some ideas of what field you want to be in, where you would like to live and make a goal of a start date for a job.
  • Direction is more important than speed. It is more important to start a job in the field you want to be in than just accepting the quickest offer. 
  • Think about what type of company you want to work for—keep in mind the size of the company, what the company culture is like, and how established the company is. 
  • Use your resources and connections: the Internet, professors, family and friends. Ask questions and explore what’s out there for jobs, there are many fields to explore. 
  • Job hunting takes patience and persistence. Just keep applying and you will eventually find a job that is the right fit for you. 
  • After graduating college, take some time for yourself. If it is feasible, travel or try something you have always wanted to do. You will never get that time back. You can work for the rest of your life. 
  • Take time to exercise, read, find hobbies you enjoy, and build good habits.

At the beginning of your job, it will be a big adjustment. Remember that everyone has once been in your shoes. Ask questions, stay curious and be confident in your abilities.

  • Try to find out what makes you stand out from others, whether it be a specific skill, communication style, or something else, bring something to the table.
  • Be open to learning new things, be adaptable and listen. You will learn so much, especially during training. Don’t be afraid to ask your coworkers questions.
  • Be respectful and mindful at work, understand that being a professional is about the way in which you carry yourself and interact with others.
  • It takes time to adjust to your work schedule and to find a balance between work life, personal life, and social life. You just have to figure out what works for you.
  • If you’re not a morning person, you will adapt. Trust me. (Coffee also helps.)
  • Working after being in school for so many years is an adjustment at first, but it is rewarding and making money is the motive.