Transitioning from University to Work

The term “welcome to the real world” has never been truer than in this case. It can come as quite a shock after having left the comfort of university to go into the working world. Going from writing essays, partying, taking exams and attending lectures and classes to a 9-5 job can be very hard to adjust to. But don’t worry, here are 5 tips and tricks to give you some guidance on how to transition from university to work.

1)    Punctuality equals professionalism!

Being professional is part and parcel of any new job that you will have over the years. Unlike school or university, punctuality is expected and something you will not be praised for. Being late so many times could end up with you being spoken to by HR or management and a decision will have to be made on what to do about it. If you know that you have a partiality for being late, then make a schedule: A time for going to bed, a time for getting up in the morning and a time for leaving the house. If you know that you are not a morning person and struggle to get up, then try going to bed a bit earlier. It’s recommended that you get 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night.

2)    Don’t second guess yourself!

You’ve finished your degree, started your new job and now the overwhelming sensation starts to set in. It won’t be like this for everybody, but some people are going to find it hard to transfer the knowledge and skills they have learnt from university and apply it to their job. The trick is don’t doubt yourself; you were hired for a reason. The manager believes that you have the skills to efficiently do your job better than the other people that were interviewed. So be confident and stick with it. Besides, no one ever stops learning in life: everyone makes progress.

3)    University will not prepare you for everything!

Education only tends to educate you with knowledge of the subjects you are learning or degrees you are studying. Unfortunately, it does not outright teach you about issues that you may find happen in your day to day work life.

Sometimes, you may have to negotiate a salary before you start a job. Having the right communication skills along with patience is key to negotiating. You don’t want to ask for a starting salary that is completely ridiculous and would get you laughed out of the building. Instead, find out what they are offering you and start with a higher but reasonable counteroffer. From there, you will need to work with the negotiator until you reach a sum that you are both happy with.

However, it’s not just negotiation that you will be unprepared for. Critical thinking, money management, etiquette, protecting yourself and managing failure are all things that university don’t teach you.

4)    Colleagues or friends?

Depending on the size of the company you work for, you’re going to have many colleagues. Some of whom you will get on better with than others and that is totally fine. You’re allowed to be friends with your colleagues inside or outside of work but remember that they are still your colleagues in work.

Whilst the friendships you make with colleagues will make your day more enjoyable, it is vital to take note of the foundations and basis of which these friendships are formed. Not all colleagues are going to be friendly, some may even be a little competitive. But it is wise to remember that you will be in a place of work, so you must remain professional around others, even if they are your friends.

5)    Networking is key!

If you haven’t started networking already, start now. Networking is great for talking to industry professionals that have been in the game for many years. Start by going to networking conventions such as Glug. This way you will be able to meet people that have gone down the same career path that you intend to go down as well.

If you are not one for going to meet people in person, then LinkedIn is great for getting in touch with other professionals via social media. You can post your information about what work experience you have, where you have studied and anything else you think industry professionals would benefit from knowing about you. Not only does LinkedIn allow you to message other professionals, but for professionals to message you as well. Some of them may even be offering interviews or jobs!

For those of you that are reading this and will still be attending university next year, it will be a good idea to start networking now. It is never too early to engage with professionals and build up relationships with the people that could potentially be your next boss.

It’s going to feel strange at first but once you get into the swing of things, it will start to become easier and less overwhelming. There are many changes that you will have to make to your lifestyle to help you kick the university mindset and for some, this may take a while. But don’t worry, as time goes by the transition will start to feel smoother and you will adapt to the weight of the working world.