After finally graduating college, the ‘Lit’ grad-party and showing off your graduation gifts and outfits, you’ll hear all kinds of advice.
“The world is your oyster!” “Seize the day!” “These are the best years of your life!” Whether this is true or not, there are also a lot of things you won’t be told about life after university/college and your first few years off campus.
Being on campus comes with some sort of comfort, which puts you at a slight disadvantage especially if you hadn’t done any work (internship, part-time jobs, training, attachment) before because you might not know how incredibly challenging and demanding the professional world actually is. Sometimes, academically and theoretically you may believe that you’re ready to enter the professional world and start building your career with your first job out of college. You’ll need to think carefully about what you accomplished outside of the classroom and frame that properly on your resume.
The prospect can be more exciting than intimidating so here are some tips you need to take heed of:
- Always apply for entry level jobs
Your first job out of college is a foray into the unknown, but that doesn’t mean you have to go into it completely blind. It may not require a lot of the specific skills that are expected of higher-level employees but it’s a training ground for new employees. The competition will be steep, so don’t assume you’ll get the first job you apply for just because you’ve gotten your degree.
- Don’t let your ego get in the way
You may be a qualified accountant, but you still need to have experience. Don’t make the mistake of applying for a senior position just yet, don’t be ashamed to work your way up, and remember, it’s not only about this job, it’s about where this first job out of college can take you. Do you know what you want to be doing in five years? It is something to consider, because if you do score an interview, you’ll be asked this, in order to test your strategic thinking.
- Entry level job = entry level pay
The common notion is that accountants are rich, but that’s not always necessarily the case. Eventually maybe, but it’s not practical to suddenly expect to become a millionaire because you are a qualified accountant. The idea that as human beings we ought to work our way up applies. As a trainee accountant, you certainly will be at an advantage over some of your colleagues, who are in a different field, especially if you are training at a renowned firm. While it may not pay as much as you were hoping to make, it’s probably a lot more than you were making while you were still a student.
- Learn all you can
Just because you’ve finished college doesn’t mean that you’re done learning. Be smart enough to realise that you are at another beginning. First jobs out of college come with their challenges: you may not love every task assigned to you, and everything that you do will be judged. Still, accept the challenge. Think of it as a boot camp to gain entry into the career of your dreams. Don’t just do the job — excel at it every day.