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Classroom to Boardroom: Actionable Steps to Start a Great Career

Getting a job might seem like a breeze compared to the four-plus year academic marathon that you just finished, but transitioning from an scholastic lifestyle to a career focused track can be incredibly difficult for many people. Your goals change, it’s a different mindset, and finding a job suitable for your new qualifications can be troublesome for fresh faces on the job market.

Finding a Job That Matches Your Skills

Whether you’ve graduated from a prestigious university or a community college, finding a job that uses and pays for your new skills is is a giant gear-shift. For many college graduates, it’s their first entrance to the corporate world and without prep work before they find their first job, getting stuck in a dead end job is a real possibility. You can avoid career stop signs by preparing your resume well, networking effectively, and asking effective interview questions.

Expand on Your Experiences

Resume building can be considered somewhat of an art form, sure you can find templates and cover letter advice, but turning the template into an actionable piece of self-advertisement requires creative and calculated assessment. Take into account the important accomplishments you’ve completed that would help you perform your job. Maybe your degree is in English,but you have a personal love of excel that has led you through every free tutorial on the internet. You can’t put that on your resume, but can say 400 hours of self led Excel training. Action words that give a quantifiable value to fluid concepts are vital for a successful, stand-out resume. For example, instead of just listing a degree, putting some of your accomplishments while getting that degree will give guts to your experience, and substantiate what you did there. Putting an experience, skills, and competence behind your degree will give potential employers a more complete understanding of your expertise.

Don’t Settle, Network

Finding a job is so difficult that when one does come up, you practically jump at the opportunity. Jump if the pay is good, or if the company has prestige, but don’t settle. While getting paid is vital, use a less than optimal job opportunity as a means of networking,and building out your resume is critical when right out of university. The prestige of your on-the-job experiences after college will set a precedent for what your time costs and will assist in future salary negotiations. Don’t settle into a job just because you got one, take a less than opportune job to start pushing yourself up and talk to people in the industry. Use a bad job to find a good job.

Transition: Study to Working

It seems super basic but transitioning between a study mind-set into a business mind-set takes some active effort. While studying, you are trying your best to learn what is laid before you, appease your teachers, and bust out of there as quickly, cheaply, and effectively as possible. College is an investment in yourself, and work is the pay-out. While working you are suddenly in a self-serving position, trying to get all you can out of the experience. Your personal goals can align with the company or you can get the most out of your company in the long term by completing magnificent work and getting merit-based promotions. However, when working, money talks and you work for yourself.

Money Talks

Working for a great company can be very rewarding, but money and resume builders talk. You might have landed your dream job, or even just an internship, but if it doesn’t pay you enough to live comfortably or have any internal promotion structure, consider leaving. Money talks, it says how much money a company has assigned your time to be worth. Some companies have a strong promotional infrastructure; this is a sign that they value loyalty, and will value your time more as they get to know you.

Selfish Worker

Be selfish, to the point of being successful. This doesn’t mean ruining relationships or running crazy; it means being smart with your inter-office tactics, picking projects you are great at, and showing off all of your fantastic skills. Share your success, but don’t give all the credit to another team player if you did some of the work, show how much you value yourself, and allow others to find out about what makes you so great. This also means negotiating for better wages like a champ, and taking better opportunities when they present themselves.

Professional Goals

You might have mastered all of your studies, you’ve got a job, what now? Set new professional and personal goals to keep yourself alive and moving. Keep developing as a professional and don’t let yourself settle down, whether you move to be an independent contractor selling your own services and skills, or setting up a way to track your cat while away from home. Moving forward is the key to long-term success and staying active and interested in your work. There is a whole new world of jobs, from developing technology (which is set to double by 2020) to a growth in event planning (33 percent this decade alone).

You’re done with college and ready to cash out in the job market. Take a look at your skills, put them down in an actionable way that highlights your accomplishments, and transition into a forward thinking career minded commander.

Author’s Bio:

Mary Grace lives in the beautiful Boise, Idaho. She loves hiking, skiing, and human interactions. You can always tweet her @marmygrace or email her directly marmgrace@gmail.com if you have any questions or concerns.

Nathan Jeffery
Notification Bell