What is the first thing that comes to mind when someone says the words, new grad?Education, experience, motivation, professionalism, networking: these are all of the things that come to my mind.
There is no one well-defined way of going about the transition from student to new grad. Each person encounters their own set of challenges and opportunities, however, there certainly is a ubiquitous, agreed-upon list of things you could do to make this transition easier and advantageous.
As a new graduate, it is often understood that we may not have perfect – or even close to perfect – knowledge of the world around us. Of course, after completing the four cumbersome years of university, we are keen on standing our ground, with pride on our faces and claim, “I know exactly what you’re talking about, and I can totally do this… if I get more exposure to it.”
But I have found that it is even more important to break through that mindset and continue seeing yourself as a student of the world. That is, continue being flexible and open to ideas, and be willing to learn.
After much discussion with other successful new grads, below are my top five tips of making the most out of your “new grad” status (this can apply to current students as well).
Top 5 tips on how to leverage being a new grad
- Ask lots of questions! There is no shame in this. In fact, I learned this particular tip from a past employer. There are no stupid questions and being honestly curious is a positive signal of your interest and effort in the field.
- Network with other industry reps. Most professionals are happy to grab a cup of coffee and just chat about your interests, their experience and the general marketplace in which they specialize. Any conversation has at least one tidbit of info you didn’t know before.
- Try to go beyond just doing a task. For example, try to learn the theory, mechanics, and the basis of why we are doing a particular function. Most people overlook the simple concepts and get lost in the technical aspects.
- Attend seminars, conferences and events that round out your understanding of commerce and management. This suggests doing some research on your part, and maybe even some cash. A lot of these events have a fee and a handful of specialized keynote speakers, so it is important to choose from the ones that will provide the most value to you.
- Observe, observe and observe. From technical systems to soft skills to body language, learn how to carve your own niche in the professional world and back up your academic skill set with proper etiquette. This is more of a trial-and-error process, but it will soon start to come to you naturally.
Remember that it’s okay to make mistakes and you are encouraged to experiment. Keep yourself open to information but be selective about your choices. In any case, this is a golden period to take advantage of this transition stage from student to professional.
*Aditi will be writing and updating “the First 365” series for 2017-18. These posts will focus on Aditi’s experiences in the work place after graduation.