Making the Shift from University to Industry

As a recent graduate, the challenge to find a job after university is a test in itself, let alone finding a job that is specific to your discipline.

Three years of your university life (or more!) is spent learning and developing skills that will inevitably be applied to the world of work, but one thing lectures and seminars can’t prepare you for is the transition into working life.  

If you’re lucky enough to start a career in your industry of choice, and not be left to take what you can get in a desperate bid to enter the world of employment, you’ll be eager to discover the new opportunities your role will bring.

But, before embarking on your first adult career, consider whether that industry is right for you. Get some experience, and dip your toe in several pools before deciding which one to dive into.

Whether you have a week’s worth, or a year’s worth, experience is experience and might be the thing that gives you the leg-up needed to beat other applicants to the post. Not only will it put you in better stead as an applicant, but it will also give you an insight to the role, the daily tasks of the job and more importantly, will allow you to discover whether the role is right for you. 

As one of Shooting Star’s latest Rising Star interns, in my first post-graduation job, I have found that your first job after university is a lot like driving a car. Your driving lessons teach you how to pass, but taking to the road solo teaches you how to drive.

Having completed a degree in media communications and various work placements, walking through the office doors of a PR and marketing agency wasn’t totally strange to me, but has presented me with new exciting opportunities to learn, expand my knowledge and take on a workload independently.

Having real responsibility within your first job role is daunting at first but is quickly accompanied by a feeling of trust and that you are capable of completing the task at hand. Nevertheless, it is still possible to experience a small bout of imposter syndrome, so, here’s a few things to remember.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions! There’s no shame in asking questions and it’s unlikely that you will be expected to understand a task immediately. Approaching colleagues with questions will make you feel more confident and ultimately give you a better understanding of the topic in question.

Your working environment is where you will spend a lot of your time, so take the time to building great working relationships. This will make for a comfortable, friendly working environment where you can have a natter over a cup of tea (and a press release)!

Don’t dwell on mistakes, we’re only human, and in a new job mistakes are bound to be made so use this is a learning experience! What’s important is how you learn from the mistakes made and avoid making them again in the future.

Whether you’re celebrating a personal success, someone else’s success or a success for the business, it’s nice to recognise people for their hard work. So be sure to commend your colleagues when they deserve it (and of course, yourself too!).

Working life is an accumulation of hard work, dedication, tea and cake; most people’s favourite things. But when it really comes down to it, ‘team-work makes the dream work’ and feeling part of a valued team is an important element in the work environment. Not only does it build trust and encourage responsibility with your employers, it makes the work environment an enjoyable place to be, where colleagues support each other and celebrate successes together.

The transition from university to employment can be challenging and quite scary. But it’s important to remember that while university equips you with the knowledge needed to enter your chosen career, it is the role that allows you to adapt and embrace working life where you will develop your knowledge, build strong working relationships and kick-start your experience in your chosen sector.