POV: Entering The Working World As A Graduate
Many graduates, myself included, have been anxious stepping into the unknown that is the professional world. I know what you’re thinking - it’s a total U-turn from stumbling in at 4am after a night out, or having the Easter holidays to catch up on all the lectures you (slept through) couldn’t attend.
And you’re not wrong, it’s an adjustment – but so was University, right?
Back in 2019 when I was applying to graduate schemes, I was surprised to see the lack of people my age sharing their experiences with the highs and lows of searching for the right role, the application process and the feeling of being a total rookie once they’ve started their jobs.
I’m here to ease your worries and give you some actual insight into what it's like to leap into the working world - because nobody talks about what it’s ACTUALLY like to switch hungover brunches with business meetings.
Let me start get this disclaimer out there - it's TOTALLY normal and ok to feel like you haven't got a clue where to start. When I first started my career almost 3 years ago I thought to myself “Okay Rosie, time to be an adult… wait, I’m an adult now?!”
Although the adjustment to adulting (A.K.A stepping into the working world) was one that took a bit of patience and perseverance, it’s 100% possible and worth it!
You’re NOT underqualified
We’re all guilty of falling into the trap of thinking nobody will want a graduate with no work experience. Myself included.
However, if there’s one thing I want you to take from this blog it’s that you are NOT underqualified, even though it may feel like it right now. You’ve just graduated with a degree!
Lots of other graduates with the same degree will be naturally applying to similar roles as you – so it’s important to show off your unique skills if you want to stand out:
- Are you bilingual?
- Have you completed any projects whilst in Uni that you’re proud of?
It’s difficult to make yourself sound irresistible if you aren’t a professional CV writer. But what I personally did was use my part time bartending jobs throughout Uni to highlight my skills. For example:
Did you shake cocktails and work until the early hours?
Or were you “accustomed to dealing with customers under the influence and high-pressure situations, demanding quick decision-making and constant, clear communication with colleagues?”
Much better, right?
You’ll learn as you go
Employers are there to help you progress in your career, so as scary as it may seem to have a Line Manager that you will have to report to, don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Sure, you’ll have progress meetings and possibly a mentor in your initial months, but they aren’t there to catch you out – exams are done!
In my personal experience, I was able to pick my manager’s brain if I was ever stuck/ struggling with my workload. From their perspective, an employee who is communicative and keen to understand is like hitting the jackpot.
My friends and I landed our 9-5’s roughly around the same time, and we all thought we wouldn’t be able to make it. Those 9am lectures were always the ones we dreaded… but having to do it every day?! It was a tough adjustment period to say the least.
The best part of working the hours of 9-5 (after fixing my uni-orientated sleeping schedule, of course), was that my days had structure and I was able to leave work at work.
No more desperately trying to do 6 hours’ worth of coursework on a Sunday night or thinking about that essay you haven’t finished yet whilst you’re having lunch with your mum. My evenings and weekends are completely mine to do as I please.
That’s a pretty good feeling.
Give yourself some time
Finding a work/life balance will take time, especially when you’re a newbie. Finding your feet in a new role whilst trying to avoid burnout can take a bit of time to get right, and that’s okay.
Adjusting your sleep schedule, remembering to bring lunch to work, and being able to enjoy yourself outside of work will all involve a bit of trial and error – but once work becomes routine, it becomes much easier to manage and compartmentalise work and life.
You’ve got this!
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