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5 Things Every College Graduate Should Know That They Don’t Teach In The Classroom

After four, or five, or maybe six years … you finally have your degree in hand (along with some student loan debt and memories of a lifetime). You learned a lot in the classroom, but not everything.

The truth is that some of the most important lessons for college graduates and young professionals beginning their career are the things that no one tells you.

To help you get ahead of the curve, and from my book 50 Ways To Excel In Your First Job (And In Life), here are five things that every college graduate should know as they begin their career.

1. Your First Job Won’t Be Your Last Job (Tweet this)

Young professionals regularly worry about making the wrong choice when it comes to their first job. Good news: There’s no right or wrong decision. Why? Because your first job won’t be your last job.

The job market and economy has changed. People no longer have lifelong employment. Actually, people now change jobs every two years on average. So there’s no need to stress yourself out wondering if you’re selecting the “right job.” Instead, get curious.

Ask yourself if there are great development opportunities in whatever job you select. Ask yourself if the job is in a city that you’re excited to explore. Ask yourself if you’ll be challenged. Turn whatever fear you’re feeling into excitement and always remember: There is no wrong decision.

2. Be A Regular

Have a go-to spot. A go-to café. A go-to restaurant. A go-to yoga studio. You get the idea.

When you do this, over time you’ll build strong relationships with people outside of your usual circle. You’ll get to know the staff, and even the other regulars, and they’ll get to know you. Treat them well and they’ll treat you even better. Have a place where everybody knows your name.

3. Ask “By When?”

At the office, always get clarity on when something will be completed or should be delivered. Answers like “I’m working on it” or “We’ll have it soon,” aren’t acceptable. Get a firm date and time and hold people accountable.

Note: You won’t make many fans this way. And that’s ok. But you will deliver exceptional, and on time, work.

4. How To Get Vacation Time

Don’t ask. Tell.

Most people request vacation time or a day off like this: “Can I have Tuesday off?” or, “I’m writing to request the week of the 15th off for vacation.” This approach makes it easy for a manager to reject your request.

Instead, tell your manager what you’re going to do. For example, “I’m going to take Tuesday off,” or, “I’m taking the week of the 15th off for vacation.” When you tell instead of ask, the decision has already been made.

5. What Makes You Happy May Make Others Uncomfortable (Tweet This)

Your family and friends won’t always understand your decisions. And that’s ok.

People who’ve known us for most of our lives view us in a certain way. When we make decisions that they disagree with, or when we take the road less traveled, this can knock them off balance.

Most of the time, our family and friends want what’s best for us. But what’s best for them isn’t always what’s best for us. Have an honest talk with people. Share why you’re making the decision that you’re making. Listen to their concerns and then, make the decision that’s right for you. At the end of the day, the decision is yours.

Antonio Neves is a nationally recognized millennial workplace speaker, award-winning journalist and author of 50 Ways To Excel In Your First Job (And In Life) and 50 Things Every College Student Should Know.

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