Career Planning

6 Steps to Transition from College to Career

Resources from Monster and Fastweb can help recent grads navigate their post-grad job search.

Kathryn Knight Randolph

March 17, 2023

6 Steps to Transition from College to Career
Navigate the transition from college to the real world in six easy steps.
Though you may have had years to prepare for this moment, college graduation tends to sneak up on you. After, the real world is waiting – very impatiently, at times. As the poet, Mary Oliver, put it: what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? You can actually start preparing for that wild and precious life a few months or weeks before graduation. According to the University of Washington, it can take anywhere from three to six months to land a job after graduation, so you need all of the help you can get. That's where Monster comes in with their database of job opportunities and expert advice. Between Monster, Fastweb, and the resources at your college, you'll be able to find the right opportunity in good time. Get started now:

  1. Find entry-level jobs that interest you.
  2. Once you have your resume and cover letter ready to go, it's time to begin the job search. Many students opt to start online because of the thousands of possibilities on online job boards. Monster also caters to college students by providing month-by-month outlooks on companies hiring entry-level workers and companies hiring right now. Applying for job opportunities online makes for a more seamless process. In just a few minutes, you can find an opportunity that interests you, make a few quick edits to your resume and cover letter, and submit both docs through an online job portal.

  3. Craft your resume and cover letter.
  4. Before you can even apply for your first job after graduation, you need to have a resume as well as a cover letter drafted. Though you need to make changes to your resume and cover letter each time you apply for a new position, you can still have a general draft for each of them. That way, when an opportunity comes up, you just have to make a few quick edits before applying. Don't be daunted by the prospect of creating your first resume, even if you have no work experience. Monster provides a great tool for helping students draft their first resume. With this tool, students can craft a resume and then complete a resume assessment in order to determine its viability. While the standard resume format is perfectly fine, resumes have undergone quite the transformation in recent years. Rather than a black and white listing of your academic credentials and accomplishments, the modern day resume looks more like a social media profile. It features bold headlines, character summaries, and headshots. To find a modern day resume template, as well as traditional resumes, check out Canva.  

  5. Nail your job interview.
  6.  The next process that you'll need to navigate during your post-grad job search is the job interview. Though this is by far the most intimidating component of the job search, it's also the easiest to prepare for. Why? Because of the extensive expert advice and helpful tips found on Monster. From the top 100 interview questions to what you should wear, Monster's blog has you covered on the best and latest interview trends. We should mention here that it is a unique time to be searching for your post-college job. Some companies are still working remotely, which means that job interviews will most likely be conducted over Zoom, FaceTime, or Skype. With that, we've prepared five digital interview tips – as well as cover letter and resume tips for remote jobs.

  7. Negotiate your salary.
  8. One of the trickiest parts of transitioning from college to your career is negotiating salary. For most students, the annual figures that they are discussing with their potential employer are more than they've ever made in their lives. That's why it can be difficult to know what to ask for, how to negotiate, and what to accept. Fortunately, Monster walks recent grads through the process with their Salary Tools. You can search jobs by title and location to find the figure that best matches your role. Salary negotiations also include talks about benefits. Traditional benefits include 401K, health care, and paid time off. However, the modern-day workplace includes more, like work from home options, office gyms, and even an office masseuse. As you negotiate your salary, remember to ask about other available benefits.  

  9. Make a budget.
  10. Your post-college budget should be figured as you're entering into salary negotiations. With a budget in hand, you'll be able to discuss package options that will cover your costs of living. At the same time, you can save creating your budget for after salary negotiations. That way, you’ll have exact figures to work with as you plan for rent, student loan payments, and groceries. provides a template for making a budget after college. Recent college graduates should consider the following in their monthly budget: • Rent/Mortgage • Renter's or Homeowner's insurance • Utilities • Health insurance • Groceries/Toiletries • Car insurance • Transportation costs (Gas, Public Transportation, Parking, etc.) • Debt repayment (Student Loans, Credit Cards, etc.) Other things students and recent graduates should consider: out-of-pocket medical costs, clothing, vehicle maintenance, cell phone service, TV streaming subscriptions, restaurants, gym memberships, travel, and household furnishings.

  11. Start creating your life after college.
  12. Once you have secured your job and negotiated your salary, it's time to start your one wild and precious life. If you're relocating, it's worth making a trip to your new city for a few days before the start of your job to find an apartment as well as any other essentials that will be necessary to making the move feel seamless. If you have student loans, you have a six-month grace period in which student loan payments do not have to be made. However, if you have a job and can make the student loan payments, getting stared sooner rather than later will help you pay off that debt quicker. This time in your life can be exciting and overwhelming and exhilarating at the same time. Thankfully, Monster works hard to help college seniors and recent college graduates make the transition from college to their career easily.

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Kathryn Knight Randolph

Associate Content Editor

Kathryn Knight Randolph is the Associate Content Editor at Fastweb. She has 17 years of higher education experience, working first as an Admissions Officer at DePauw University before joining Fastweb. In b...

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