Making The Leap From University To Work

6 September, 2016
Jasmine Sherman

Making The Leap From University To Work

6 September, 2016
Graduate Jobs at Start-ups
There is a significant jump from university to the world of work. For many it's a change of pace, a change of direction and validation that the work you’ve put in at university has finally paid off. So how do you deal with this new way of working? We have a few tips and tricks to help you smash the 9-5 life.

Prioritising work

Work isn’t easy, the change of pace tends to worry people. It can be jarring that at university, even set-in-stone deadlines could be extended for a good enough reason, then you begin work where deadlines are rigid or even often brought forward, suddenly throwing you into panic.

The best way to deal with this is to start prioritising your work. Begin by putting together a worksheet, allowing you to prioritise tasks and be aware of everything you have to work on at any one time. It might seem simple but another handy trick is writing to-do lists. Not only are they useful but they allow you to cross things off and be able to see what you’ve achieved that day- giving you a sense of accomplishment when your list of tasks begins to feel never-ending.

Staying focused

The workplace also requires you to stay focused for a lot longer than you’re probably used to. Let’s just say, the days of working for an hour or two and then taking a break to watch an episode of Breaking Bad are long gone. Now it's flat out until lunchtime and then some, but you can still reward yourself- and it’s important to! Head to the kitchen and make yourself a well-deserved coffee, relish the five minutes or so it takes to make it and set yourself an even pace. It may seem small but it will help a lot!

A change of pace

The type of work you’ll be focusing on will be different too, as what you’re doing becomes extremely time-sensitive. No longer will you have three weeks to complete a task - You could be given deadlines of 3 hours, or even 3 months. From the get-go, find out how long you have to work on a project and therefore establish what pace you need to attack it with. Keep a note of everything that you’re working on; leaving a paper trail for yourself. It’ll increase productivity and make those first few weeks much easier.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions

A glaringly obvious tip that people don’t - or are reluctant to - consider is asking questions. Coming straight from university into a workplace where you’re probably surrounded by people who have been there for years can be daunting. Many colleagues will have been, seen and done it before, and just generally be more versed to the way things are done. No longer will you be surrounded by people in the same year group as you, with the exact same knowledge level. You’ll naturally learn things from the people you work with but a surefire way to speed this up is by asking lots of questions - they’ll always be willing to help, remember you’re all working towards the same goal and they were in your position once!

Independence is key

At university you’ll have done a lot of independent learning, an undeniably useful skill for the workplace, but get used to teamwork too. If, for example, you work in Sales or you become part of a Sales team, you’ll be given an individual target, but you may also have to achieve a team target too. This can be difficult as it means you become responsible for the work of others, a notoriously hard thing to know how to handle. As long as you’re working hard, accepting help as well as offering it where needed, you’ll be just fine.

The jump from university to work can be daunting, but just remember to remain calm and embrace it- all experience is good experience after all.

Written by University Compare, a university comparison website that compares over 36,000 courses across 425 institutes. Check out their website for advice on all aspects of university life.

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