Making a Successful Transition from Student to Employee

Making the leap from student to employee can be a daunting one. Just as you probably had many adjustments you had to make in your freshman year as a student, you’ll have to adapt to changing environments when you land your first job. Some students may be better prepared for their transition to the real world because they have spent a lot of time off-campus in internships or other employment positions already. For others, it can be a real shock to be thrown into the real world with the pressure of securing a job. Understanding how this transition works can help the emotional process become a lot smoother.

Having Employability Skills

Putting your social skills to work will be the biggest asset for you. Many students are surprised by how much emphasis employers place on teamwork skills, communication skills and how well a possible candidate will fit into their company culture. Interviews can be scary and nerve-racking, but if you have a solid portfolio and exemplify passion/potential, overcoming these fears of interviews will become easier. As long as you have the right attitude and work ethic, you will be just fine.


Internships can be a great way to familiarize yourself with what employers are expecting, how agencies work and how to better adapt in a company setting. Many employers require at least some experience before they hire you, so getting familiar with your job environment through an internship is a good way to get your feet wet. Take advantage of the experience and remember to work hard and ask questions. Getting as much knowledge from this opportunity will eventually help you get a better understanding of what is expected of you when you move to a full-time position.

Ask for Help

You have to realize that your college experience probably didn’t teach you everything you need to know about securing an employment position after you graduate. Asking for help is by no means a failure and by taking every opportunity to ask questions, will only help improve your chances of getting a job. Ask for advice from previous graduates, faculty, parents and friends in order to make the transition from college to job as satisfying as possible. Another great resource would be to look up blogs or articles published by individuals who have already entered the workforce.

Managing Stress

Don’t worry if you find the perfect fit right away. Researchers have noticed that, after only two years of employment, 50% of college educated workers changed jobs (source), so don’t feel like your stuck at your first job. Working at any agency will be a great starting point and learning experience to help you understand what you are looking for in your web design career. This is something that can stress out some students, but just remember that your main goal is to gain valuable experience.

50% of college educated workers change jobs after 2 years of employment.

Managing Time

College provides students with an abundance of free time around class schedules. Once you take on a full-time job, you will find this precious time ultimately dwindle down. Being able to pick timetables that didn’t have many early morning classes is a luxury you won’t be able to have when working 5 days a week. The pace of a design agency will be faster and you won’t have that buffer of time you had in college.

Maintain Relationships

Once you land a job, don’t think it’s okay to stop networking and maintain relationships. Like we said before, more than half of college graduates change jobs after 2 years. This means that if you do change jobs down the road, it will be easier if you have connections within the industry to help facilitate these job changes. Always be nice to others, you never know who will give you your next job.

The fact is, transitioning from graduate to employee doesn’t have to be scary. Sure it can be stressful, but any new situation that you are uncomfortable with, will be for the first little while. Once you gain some experience from securing a full-time position, it will become second-nature when moving onto bigger and better opportunities.

LifeJanna HaganComment