Nothing prepares you for life quite like your first job. I am very proud of my alma mater and I garnered many necessary skills to help me grow as a future professional. But there are so many things you learn on the job that college does not train you for. The transition from college life to full-time employment can be a challenge as you begin this new journey.
I have learned a variety of new skills throughout my first three months at Gaslight Creative – things I did not from any professor or student organization – and I’m sure I’m not alone. I decided to reach out to my fellow Gaslight colleagues to see what they have learned in their industry since leaving college.
I found out very quickly that our conversations had some similarities. Some skills cannot truly be taught effectively until you are put into a real-life situation, whereas other skills may be ones we’ve passed over because they didn’t seem as important for post-grad life.
The most important thing I have learned, however, is no matter what job you get post-graduation, you must always be willing to learn and ask questions.
I complied what we think are the best skills to hone once you leave college, ones you learn as you grow in your field, and others you sculpt and maintain as you develop into a young professional.
Know how to communicate professionally with clients, colleagues and those in your professional network. Know how to communicate issues/challenges effectively and send carefully worded emails.
Designing for clients:
One of our interns pointed out the challenge of learning how to design for a client verses designing for yourself or a professor. Understanding what the client wants and being able to implement feedback is very important to know.
Keeping involved in the community:
Being busy with a different schedule everyday and extra-curricular activities while in school is a sharp contrast to what you may experience once you enter the workforce. It’s important to get involved in your community and stay active in your industry.
Get some skills and/or a hobby on the side:
Find something you are passionate about outside of work and make that an important part of your life. Whether it’s hula hooping, drawing, photography, craft beer tasting – make sure that fits into your life, it may even come in handy someday! (Ok, maybe not the craft beer tasting, but it’s a fun hobby to have! 🙂 )
Learn how to solve your own problems:
It is never discouraged to ask questions, but take it one step further and do some digging to try and solve the problem on your own. Take initiative!
Probably the most important skill to maintain post-graduation is networking. You never know when you may need that one connection you met at a networking event two years ago! Keep your LinkedIn profile up-to-date and connect with people in your industry and professional network.
Although this list isn’t a set-in-stone version of what is necessary to thrive after college, I know these lessons I’ve learned are valuable. It’s truly important to stay in a good mindset and have a positive outlook on your growth and development wherever your career takes you. College may seem like a thing of the past for me, but I know I will never stop learning.