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College to Career Transition Strategies


Are you just starting your career?  It can be challenging to make the jump from college to career.  Some students feel they are not prepared for job search success. The launch phase of your career is crucial.  This serves as a foundation for future jobs and this first salary is your baseline upon which future salaries may be determined. You may feel lost in a sea filled with competitors. Make your college to career transition easier and rise above the competition.  Here are the five strategies for college to career success. 


1.) Sell Yourself through Accomplishments

Many students and new graduates will focus on their goals, passions, and aptitude to excel in certain areas.  While it is important to have goals and passion, it is not an indication of future success in a particular job.  Aptitude is somewhat nebulous in an assessment of a candidate for job.  A better way to sell yourself is to share your past accomplishments. Past accomplishments are the best indicator of future success. Brainstorm to recall your top accomplishments, including academic honors, course projects, student organizations, summer or part time jobs, and internships. Use the STAR (Situation-Task-Action-Result) Model can help you frame your accomplishments.  Even if your only experience has been working as a food server or retail associate, you are likely to have accomplishments that demonstrate your customer service, problem solving, and revenue generating abilities.  Those are three highly-transferable and relevant skills.


2.) Dig Deep to Uncover Relevant Experience

Many students have never held a paid position. If that is your situation, fill your résumé with charitable activities, academic projects, leadership in academic associations, study abroad programs, scouting honors, music or theatrical involvement, and many other non-professional pursuits that demonstrate that you are responsible, diligent, and intelligent.


3.) Boost Your Value through Professional Development

You may be competing with more experienced workers. One way to catch up to the competition is through ongoing professional development. The type of training will vary based on your field.  It may be a professional certification to demonstrate skill proficiency.  Research the possibility of industry certifications, in-house training programs, workshops through professional associations, and technical training.  Also, many corporations have management training programs for early-career workers to cross-train in several departments or in company offices in other countries.  It is wise to apply for such programs in the early phase of your career. 


4.) Social Media Makeover

Part of the transition from college life to professional life involves a social media makeover and perhaps the adoption of new behavior online.  LinkedIn should be your top social media priority. Complete all sections of your LinkedIn profile page.  Connect with others and join groups associated with your target career.  Review your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and other social media accounts.  Take down anything that can tarnish your brand and deter potential professional connections. Add content to demonstrate yourself as a proficient and knowledgeable professional.


5.) Join Professional Associations

Select one or more professional associations that support your professional development and networking goals. If you make the right choice, the membership fees are worth every penny.  Consider the size of the association, including the active members in a branch near you.  Don’t sit on the sidelines. Attend events, workshops, and conferences.


This is an exciting time as you launch your new career.  This is your chance to lay the foundation for your future success.  With the right planning and execution, it only gets better from here.  If you would like help with your college to career transition, contact me.  I would be happy to help.

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