Moving from college to the workplace traditionally requires major adjustments, including acquiring new skills on the job and learning to balance independent projects. Right now, economic and public health uncertainty only adds to the stress on college graduates. But stepping back, slowing down and taking concrete steps can help mitigate anxieties and improve your outlook. Here are ways to help navigate the unchartered waters. Build a mentor relationship In college, students can easily stop by a professor’s office hours or book an appointment with your academic advisor or job counselor. The same principles of mentorship are just as important to getting started in the workplace. After you graduate, you have to be more proactive about securing your own mentor. Having a mentor will enable you to learn what employers expect from new grads and you can use the information to make yourself job ready, and also help find new opportunities in sectors that are hiring. Take a skills inventory Does your resume reflect all that you are capable of accomplishing? Make sure that you reflect not just your major and hard skills, but also soft skills like learnability that shows you can make adjustments during turbulent periods. Research from ManpowerGroup has concluded that 65% of the jobs Generation Z will perform do not even exist yet, and right now is certainly a time of disruption and change. Show how your past has prepared you for a future that is evolving and being invented in front of us. Be open to new forms of work Look beyond the full-time permanent roles. In some sectors, hiring is ramping up right now for temporary or short-term work. Taking a temporary job to help meet demand may provide an in to a company, or an end in itself. Today, nearly 9 in 10 workers are open to NextGen work– part-time, contingent, contract, freelance or temporary. As younger workers bring tech-savvy skills to the workplace, new graduates can turn to flexible employment opportunities where it is needed most. Reach out to help others Right now, it’s easy to develop tunnel vision with respect to your own needs. No one will blame you for that. But many others are going through the same uncertainty, and seeking ways to help is not a zero-sum game. Over time, how you treat others builds a reputation. Recognizing others need assistance, offering to be of service through small acts like proofing someone else’s resume or sending an email with encouragement will become an extension of your resume. Do it for its own reward, and it’s likely to help deepen and expand your network as well. After years of being in the school system, it will take new grads time to transition to a new world –– and that’s never been true more than now. For college graduates, it’s important to be patient, keep being productive where you can be, and keep the faith.
Searching for Jobs After College
Top Communication Skills Employers Seek From College Grads
If you are a recent graduate, now is the time to work on refining certain skills to help your transition to the workplace.This summer, a new group of ambitious college graduates will hit the job market. Along with their energy and enthusiasm also comes inexperience. Here are the top communication skills that employers want to see from new grads. Listen, listen, listenWhen you are just starting out, you should listen more than you talk. Really hear what the other person is saying, instead of formulating your response. Ask for clarification to avoid misunderstandings. The person speaking to you should be the most important person. Don’t multitask. This means that if you are speaking to someone on the phone, do not respond to an email, or send a text at the same time. Be clear and concise Maybe every once in a while, on occasion it could be said that a college student filled a 20-page paper will a few filler words to meet a minimum word count. In the business setting, however, time is money. Getting to the point in a presentation or meeting is a premium communication skill. Work on clearly articulating your point in a concise and direct manner.Project management skills In college, a big project rarely lasted longer than a semester, and usually were much shorter. But in the workplace, you are often expected to juggle multiple projects that can last six months, a year or longer. Set several milestone goals, check in on progress regularly, get feedback, and use the resources of others around you. Practice the art of meetings Meetings in an office are also different than the group meetings or the dorms at college. To respect others’ time, always send out an agenda before the meeting, giving participants enough time to prepare. At the start of the meeting, establish the ground rules for communicating, and any other expectations. Finally, send meeting minutes to those who participated or who will be affected by what was discussed. Organizations know that it will take time for new graduates to get acclimated to their new work environment. That’s also a two-way street. Spend time getting up to speed in your communication practices, and the transition will be smoother for everyone.
How to Move Past Setbacks at Work
After a setback or mistake at work, at one time or another, we have all questioned our abilities or if we were in the right role. But it’s important to consider the big picture and get stronger from setbacks. Here are questions to ask, ways to learn from your mistakes and come back stronger. Determine your core strengthsDo you feel like your work is an effective use of your talents – or are you lacking in a key skill? This may seem overly basic, but for a variety of reasons sometimes your skills aren’t where you can best align them in your role. You may have missed the mark if you didn’t have the proper training, support or understanding of your role. Talk with your supervisor to learn exactly what you need to succeed, and where you can grow. Take pride in your workEvery job has elements that can feel like chores. But take a deeper look if this is a temporary unpleasantness or a systematic problem. Many successful projects will have trial and error or even failure built in on the path toward meaningful changes. Ask yourself at the end of the day, where can you reflect on your work and have a sense of pride in your accomplishments and what you’ve produced for the world?Find support from mentorsEveryone has their own examples of coming up short, and often that’s people on your own team who can relate most to the same type of mistakes. Lean into these relationships when you need them and ask for support. A robust support system can help you get through frustrations and setbacks, and one of the best indicators of job satisfaction is the relationships you build with colleagues, bosses and others at your work.Focus on what you can controlWith setbacks, there can be factors outside of your control. But you will be more resilient if you focus on what you can control, such as upskilling, growing and improving. Learnability is the desire and ability to continually learn and grow throughout our careers. To keep that skill sharp, ask yourself what a setback can teach you, and what you can learn. After a setback, the key is to continue to understand what happened and adapt. Look to the future, understand that mistakes will happen, and make the experience a catalyst for becoming better.
How to Practice Gratitude at Work
Grateful people are successful people.“Gratitude is the ultimate performance-enhancing substance at work,” says Professor Robert Emmons, a gratitude researcher and professor of psychology at UC Davis.Employees who excel at work don’t wait for something good to happen to be thankful; it’s often the other way around. To get yourself on the gratitude track, here are ways to increase gratitude in the workplace.Notice the small thingsAt the end of the work day, make a list of three things that went right. Even if it was a challenging day, anyone can find three positives, such as finishing an important email, booking a meeting or committing to taking a lunch break. Put this in a prominent place at your desk where you’ll see it when you arrive the next day. Be thankful for small wins and use the moment to start the day with momentum.Compliment a colleagueIt’s easy to get wrapped up in our routine and challenges we face. But even when you’re busy – and especially when you’re busy – pausing to notice the accomplishments of a colleague and thank them will lighten your load. When you pay attention to catch your co-workers doing something right, you’re less likely to negatively stew over your problems. The positivity will be reflected back on your mood and productivity.Write simple thank you notesYou don’t have to make a big show of gratitude. A simple post-it-note that’s left on your monitor or on a colleague’s desk will do the job just fine. It’s not the stationary that counts – it’s the thought.Create a digital gratitude folderWhen you get an email that means a lot to you, don’t delete it or let it sit in your inbox. Instead, start a gratitude email folder for compliments and projects you’ve accomplished. Scroll through it on days when you need the extra boost.Gratitude takes work, but it’s worth it. Being mindful of what’s right can help build momentum into a beneficial upward cycle. Thanks for reading – now pass it on.