How to Bridge the Gap from College to Career

One of life’s most confusing moments comes when a student has to make the leap from school to work. Crossing the bridge from your education life to your work life is a pivotal juncture that sets the stage for the rest of your life. Making a wrong decision at this juncture can affect your entire future.

While a wealth of knowledge is gained in college, it does not prepare you for the world of work and, ultimately, a career. There are no classes or instructions for transitioning from the academic environment to the work-world. In my practice, I hear clients say, “if only I had known what career direction to take, my whole life could have been different.”

Before entering the world of work, you need to get clear on many issues that will help point you in the right direction.

Here is a checklist to help you get focused and direct yourself towards a career path that can lead to a rewarding and satisfying future.

Think about what really interests you.

What are your passions? Science, fashion, history, psychology, theater, animals, sports, art, children?

What do you perceive to be your strengths?

Are you analytical, organized, conceptual, persuasive, skilled at working with tools, technical, creative, detailed, organized?

What are your personal traits?

Assertive, decisive, empathetic, cooperative, verbal?

What subjects did you enjoy while in college?

List every topic, no matter how large or small or tangential that you enjoyed throughout your education.

Can you relate your major to a potential career path?

How many different professions and careers can you list that relate in any way to your major?

What roles do you naturally play?

Leader, organizer, problem solver, listener, catalyst, mediator?

What environments work for you?

Academic setting, creative atmosphere, corporate setting, working outdoors, quiet personal space, large social groups, medical offices and hospitals, schools, libraries, travel related environments?

This kind of self-assessment is the roadmap to get you started on the right path. Knowing yourself will help focus your energies on well-chosen and appropriate career building strategies. Once you know these in-depth aspects of yourself better, you will be in a stronger position to match those qualities with job titles and career opportunities that will ultimately build a lifetime of career satisfaction. These first steps will pay off for the rest of your life.

Eileen Sharaga is a recognized authority on career development and employment trends. As a career counselor, psychologist and educator, she helps people choose, change and advance their careers. Having both a psychological and business background, she is able to provide a unique perspective into navigating today’s complex career issues. Eileen is also an advanced Myers Briggs practitioner specializing in career transition and self-assessment.

This post was originally published on Ellevate and shared with permission.


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