Career Advice: Making the Move from Student to Professional

Sometimes college life can seem as it will go on forever, with a number of students willing it to never end. This is why making the move from the student life into the working world can be a difficult transition. Many students have erratic sleeping patterns, unhealthy eating routines and for the lucky ones, not a care in the world. However once you enter a workplace, this changes drastically.

Here are some tips on how to make the move:


  • Routine

We are all creatures of habit, and for good reason. Having a daily routine provides a good base for adapting to working life, from a proper breakfast to allocated time in the evening to complete household chores, exercise or socialise. This is especially important for sleeping patterns, as in order to work to the best of your ability, you will need to have had a good night’s sleep the night before. Routines will help you to adapt to working life and leave behind the disorganisation of college.

  • Time is Money

Time really is money in the working world and its importance is not to be underestimated. If you missed a college deadline or had to slip into lectures late it would mean at most, a lower grade. However in the professional world, being late for work or a meeting or missing a deadline could be detrimental to both your professional reputation and to the business. It could result in a loss of clients or jobs, costing the business money and potentially, costing you your job.

  • Attention

Pay attention to everything that is happening within the company. What may be unfolding in another department may not directly affect you now but it may in the future, so it is of the utmost importance to maintain an interest in all aspects of the business, not just your own.

  • Competition

Until you reach the top of your career, there will always be competition, regardless of what industry you are in. It is important in those first few months of working life not to get too caught up with how your fellow colleagues are performing. What’s most important is to compete with yourself and always strive to improve on your last job.

  • Ask Questions

You will not be expected to know everything in your first job, which is why it is the perfect opportunity to learn from firsthand experience. It is important not to take a backseat in those first few weeks, but to show your employers you are there to learn and further your career. It is better to ask in your first few months, than to find yourself at a loss for knowledge further down the line when you will be expected to know.

  • Be a Team Player

Many graduates may not have experience with working as part of a team and group projects, especially not with people they are unfamiliar with. It is paramount when working in these scenarios to respect everyone’s opinion. Try to maintain a professional and civil relationship throughout with everyone, no matter how much personalities may clash. A big part of working life is learning to get along with people who you might normally not cross paths with.

  • Professionalism

Above all else, professionalism is the main quality you will need to acquire to succeed in the working world. This applies to your dress, appearance, topic of conversations, manners, speech and more. This will all contribute to making a positive first impression on everyone you meet in the course of your career.

 By Kay Kinsella, CPA Ireland

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