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Becoming a Young Professional

Though you may think you are sufficiently prepared for the transition from college to being a young professional, there are things you should be aware of, such as expectations at your new job and the demands that arise and can change your perspective of the world. Yes, it’s an exciting time of making money and meeting new people. But it can also be a lot to handle if you don’t know what to expect. We’ve come up with the information below to help you navigate the world of a young professional, including tips on how to help you better collaborate with your co-workers and figuring out how to manage your time well with new responsibilities.

Get Organized

It may be overwhelming to think of the additional tasks and expectations given by your new employer, now that you’re trying to adjust to a new job. You will be responsible for far more than you anticipate, and most jobs you’ll need constant, forward-thinking. Don’t assume that you’ll remember every deadline and every project you’re assigned without writing it down somewhere or coming up with a timeline that will help you finish assignments on time. You may have procrastinated successfully in college, but procrastinating in the real world may cost you your job. Even if your job is temporary, invest hard work that could lead to a strong reference when you’re ready to move on. You don’t want to burn bridges, especially when you’re just starting out and in need of employers to vouch for you.

Part of being a young professional is juggling multiple responsibilities. You may have a new apartment to furnish in addition to a new job, and friendships to cultivate with new co-workers and neighbors. You may be taking some professional development classes that will help you either become a better employee or serve you well in the job marketonce you’re ready to move up from an entry-level position. Time management and organization become even more important when you have all of these additional obligations. You shouldn’t be working so hard that you lose touch with friends, so get organized for this new chapter in your life.

Stick to a Schedule

Your body may be accustomed to all-nighters and afternoon naps, so your body will be in minor shock with a new work schedule. Six in the morning may be your new wake-up time, not the time you went to bed. It’s important then to stick to a constant, at least during the week. Try going to bed well before the sun comes up so that you’re able to focus on your work come morning and impress your new employer with your energy. You may also find it difficult to fit in everything you want to do in that window of time in between work and your revised bedtime so plan your time out accordingly. You may need to make the time to do your laundry, hit the gym, call your mom or hold on to some semblance of a social life. You’ll find that free time is precious once you’re out in the real world, and it’ll be up to you to prioritize your options and determine what you’d like to do with it.

Expand Your Network

While it’s important to balance work and your social life and to keep the two separate at times, it’s also a good idea to dedicate some time to expanding your network. Even if you love your job and don’t see yourself leaving the company you’re at for a while, building a network of others who work in the industry may be useful down the road. You never know who could be hiring in the future, for a job that you may want to score. Find a mentor at work, too. As important as it is to work hard and meet expectations at your job, it can be just as important to build relationships and be well-liked by coworkers. Unfortunately, in many industries, who you know makes a difference when it comes to promotions and hiring.

Look beyond the office as well. Many average-sized cities have groups set up for young professionals and organize meet-ups and events to allow recent graduates the opportunity to mingle and network with similar people in the field. People are much more forthcoming in social situations once they’re out of the office, so these events may be good places to pick up tips on hiring processes at other companies or potential job openings. Remember to remain professional, as you never know who may be in close relation or contact with your boss.

Keep Growing

Just because you are out of college doesn’t mean you’re done learning new things. A good way to remain competitive in the job market is to continue expanding your skill set. What skills can you improve to make yourself a more appealing job candidate? If you excel in, and enjoy your current position, acquiring new knowledge may pave way to future promotions or bonuses. Bring yourself up to speed with the kinds of skills your coworkers look for. Figure strategies that will help you be quicker and more productive in your workplace. Picking up new skills related to technology and new media is becoming particularly important across industries. You don’t need to be your company’s new IT personnel, but many jobs nowadays require a certain level of technological proficiency. If you decide you’d like to continue your education with a master’s or professional degree, talk to your employer. Many companies offer some tuition reimbursement to employees looking to advance in their fields and return to those places of employment once they’re done with that additional schooling.

Last Edited: July 2015

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