Transition from School to the Work Force

So you are almost at the end of your college life. Leaving the cocooned comfort of college and plunging into the "real world" can be a rude shock if you don't know what to expect.

Armed with your technical school degree, however, you already have an edge over your university counterparts -- hands-on training. The industry is eager to lap up fresh people with industry knowledge. Even so, getting into the right job and making a smooth transition takes time and effort. Also read Where in the World? if you are considering to open up your career opportunities in another state or possibly another country!

Searching for the Elusive "Right Job"
A technical course streamlines your focus, so you probably know which industry you're getting into. But you don't have to wait till you finish your course to start searching for the right job.

Searching for the Elusive "Right Job"

Make the best of your time in college by building your industry knowledge and networking skills. Your professors, seniors, the internet, career guidance centers, job seminars and career fairs are all excellent resources. Find out which are the best companies to work for in your particular industry. And don't ever let the opportunity of an internship slip past you without grabbing it!

Start working on your resume, marketing those skills that are required for the kind of position you are eyeing. Remember that the more you know about the job and the industry, the more likely that you'll exude professionalism and impress your interviewer.

Find out more about creating resumes and attending interviews at CareerOneStop.org.

So You Land the Job. What Next?
Most graduates are either tempted to grab the first job that offers itself or they may find themselves having to choose between many job offers. Before you make your decision, ask yourself three simple questions:

  • Do I like the organizational culture of this company?
  • Will this job help me make my next big move? What is the scope for my personal and professional growth?
  • Is the salary package a fair compensation for my efforts?

So You Land the Job. What Next?

Don't ever let the salary define your decision. Look at the bigger picture when considering salary. Remember: the marketable skills you pick up matter more in the long run than your first paycheck.

However, do be prepared to negotiate your salary. Find out the industry standard from senior employees and other resources like Salary.com. When employers quote less, pointing out that you are inexperienced, be prepared to sell your strengths, without being too aggressive!

Find more tips on negotiating salaries at CareerOneStop.org

Once you are in...
Remember that the rules in college don't count here. Your professors may have been willing to accommodate tardiness and you may have been free for half the day, but work is different!

Once you are in...

The golden rule is speak less and observe more! Try to project a professional image -- right from the way you dress to the way you speak and carry yourself. Being a team player, being organized and punctual and respecting deadlines are reflections of your professionalism and maturity.

Instead of waiting around for others to "teach" you, be prepared to relate your classroom knowledge to the work at hand. Employers are always excited by self-motivated employees, even if they are fresh from a technical school!

Be prepared for a whole new world. Remember that you are now part of the privileged American workforce!

Here are some more great links to get you started:

  • VirtualPet.com: a great source for information on various industries.
  • BestPlaces.net: for job seekers within the US - find statistics and comparisons on different U.S. cities.
  • AllStarJobs.com: links to leading region and career-specific job sites, resume and distribution services.
  • EmploymentSpot.com: find information on jobs, salary and benefits, interviewing tips and a lot more.
  • QuintCareers.com: everything you ever wanted to know about making a smooth job transition.

Here are some more great links to get you started:

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