Top 5 College-to-Career Transition Tips

Practical Advice from Assistant Director of Career Services, Chaim Shapiro

June 04, 2015
  • Be Professional: That may seem obvious, but it really is not so simple. The work world can be very different than the college world and employers expectyou to act, well, like a professional. Pay close attention to how you dress, your punctuality, your cell phone and computer usage, your language, and your social media presence, etc. You are NOT in college anymore!
  • Join a Professional Association: Just about every profession has its own professional association. These associations help set the rules and chart the direction of the profession. Find the one most closely aligned with you career goals and join. Associations usually have great resources including journals and membership lists that can be very helpful in guiding you on your way. Make sure to put that association membership on your resume. If there are multiple associations for your profession, try to clarify the best ones to join by asking your professors or by conducting Informational Interviews (number 4 below)
  • Become a networking star: Hopefully, you have been building and cultivating a strong professional network over the last few years (if not, do NOT wait, get started on that immediately). Try to become a networking star by building your networking capital. Create a reputation as a valuable professional by offering to help others and to provide advice. Word does get around!
  • Conduct Informational Interviews. Informational interviews are an opportunity to meet with professionals in your field to discuss what you need to do to be successful (it is also a great way to look for a job). No one knows the field better than the people who are working in it! Take advantage of the expertise of the people you already know. Make sure to keep it professional. There is a GREAT tutorial that will tell you everything you need to know at
  • Demonstrate Professional Expertise: In a social media world, anyone can demonstrate their professional knowledge and expertise to a wide audience. Build your reputation as a subject matter expert by posting status updates and professional articles on LinkedIn, engaging in Twitter Chats on relevant professional discussion topics and using the official conference hashtag to engage attendees at conferences in your professional area. You can even schedule Tweets based on the published conference schedule so you know that you are posting relevant material at the right time. The best part is that there is NO cost involved. You can participate in a conference via Twitter from your home.