School To Work: How To Make The Transition


When you finally leave school/college and it’s time to join the world of work, it’s not always as easy as you might think. Of course, the qualifications that you obtain are important tools to set you up for your first job, but what if you don’t know what to do? It’s not always easy to figure out what you want from a career when you’re so young. Transitioning into a paid job is overwhelming and stress-inducing. Because of this, we don’t always make the right decisions.

Seek Advice

As you neared the end of your college years, you were probably advised on the next steps to take. If you intend to jump straight into a job, it’s important to be equipped with sufficient knowledge. Talk to advisers who can help to determine the right job for you. Ask family and friends about their thoughts, and question them about what it’s like to have a job. Online searches can uncover information to prepare you for your first job, as can books and YouTube videos. If you know any business owners, they’ll normally be happy to talk to you about the world of work and what they expect. Quiz them about what they’d look for in an employee and use this information to your advantage.

Are You Ready?

Of course, once you’ve decided what you want to do, you need to be ready to get a job in that area. If you aren’t as qualified as you need to be, it’s time to think about how you could progress your skills. You can get additional training for certain areas of work through Iowa workforce development programs. Some of this training might even come in the form of an apprenticeship-based scheme with the view to ultimately securing a job. Additionally, you need to consider whether you’ll be required to possess experience in your chosen area. This is a little harder to achieve, but as you’ll see in our next point, it isn’t impossible.

Volunteering & Trial Periods


One of the biggest barriers to securing a job is a lack of experience. It’s difficult; how are you supposed to get experience when no one hires you? The biggest way to counteract this is to willingly volunteer for opportunities in your area. Even if you’re required to do the most basic of tasks like making the coffee, it’s worth undertaking. Not only will it look fantastic on your resume, but it’ll also provide you with contacts and potential references. Never underestimate the power of volunteering while you’re searching for the right opportunity.

The Application Process

The majority of application processes are relatively similar, no matter what you’re looking to do. In this case, all you need is a good resume to allow your qualities to stand out. It might be worth using a resume builder online to create something that looks professional. Alternatively, there are companies out there that can help you with your resume design. Make sure all grammar is perfect, the design is easy to follow, and ensure it follows a clear structure. Don’t be attempted to load it with images or inappropriate fonts; it needs to be formal and easy to read. Also, be sure to keep it snappy. Employers don’t have time to read pages and pages of information about you, so only include the important details.

Succeed At The Interview

It won’t be easy to secure the job you want, but you’ll be given opportunities eventually. When you get a call to come in for an interview, it’s time to start preparing. Before you walk into that room, you need to have a detailed idea of what you’re going to say. Research different interview questions beforehand in preparation. If they ask any particularly difficult questions on the day, it’s a way of testing you to see what your answer is. Your responses will determine whether they hire you, so you can’t afford to take the interview lightly. Prepare, be yourself, and you’ll have the best chance of succeeding. Also, you won’t have to stress as much on the day, and you can walk away feeling confident you’ve done your best.

The Hard Work Begins

Once you’ve landed the job or opportunity you desire, it’s time for the real hard work to begin. This is your very first opportunity at proving yourself as a competent worker. In the initial stages, you’ll probably find that you pay close attention to every little detail. It’s common to relax as you become more familiar with your surroundings, but don’t let your standards slip. Continue to put in copious amounts of hard work and ensure you ask for help if things become difficult. Educate and train yourself in any areas you can; your employers might be willing to send you on different courses to help you with this.

Respect The Attitudes Of The Workplace

One thing that isn’t taught in schools and colleges is the difference between a campus and a work environment. It might seem fairly self-explanatory, but so many people go into the workplace with an overly relaxed attitude. Respect the generational differences and the values of the company. You should be able to gauge what type of workplace it is in a relatively short time. As a precaution, let yourself settle in before making too many jokes and light-hearted comments. Make concerted efforts to converse with everyone in the company; not just the young people! It’s a good idea to try and fit in as best as possible, so you don’t want to be leaving anyone out.

Finally, remember that this job won’t be your last. If you find out later down the line that it isn’t for you, that’s OK! Alternatively, you might find that it’s the perfect career choice, and with enough hard work you’ll be able to secure a promotion. In any case, you need to ensure that you don’t let your standards drop at any point. Continue to work as hard as you can, and you’ll be all set for a promising career.

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Jeremy Kaplan

A 50-something year old lifestyle, career, and education blogger based in Atlanta, Georgia. Years of experience in the office setting working with others and still loving it year-after-year.

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