On the doorstep to the real world

By English language student (at the University of York) Laura Reynolds.

Like many final year undergraduates the length and breadth of the country, I am now in my final term of teaching at university before the endless partying, lengthy lie-ins and automatically replenished bank account give way to the real world. Now that we have leapt across the border into 2012, graduation seems so much closer, and so I fear it is time to start preparing for the world of work.

Here are a few tips to help prepare yourself for the scary world of full-time employment, to help anyone else who finds themselves in the same (rapidly sinking) boat:

  • Get into a proper routine. This means getting up at 7.30am on weekdays, no excuses, and being ready to face the world. Start getting into this painful routine now, and in a few months time, you’ll be able to walk into your graduate internship or job bright eyed and bushy tailed, rather than struggling to hold your eyes open because you’ve never seen 9am before. You may think that you don’t have a reason to get up at this time, but it’s a good time to get the mundane chores out of the way before the day begins.
  • Focusing on work 9-5 every week day. No more sneaky trips into town to reward yourself in Topshop or Game when the reading gets tough,  it’s all hard graft in the library during normal working hours. This will get you into the regular habit of enduring 9-5 hours so that they aren’t such a shock when they arrive, plus you will be able to enjoy your evenings guilt-free, knowing how much work you’ve put into your degree during the day.
  • Forget fancy frock, redirect your (limited) clothing budget towards items that are work-appropriate. A bit tough when you don’t know where (or even if) you’ll be working in 7 months time, so go for generic smart trousers and shirts that are appropriate for all office jobs, working under the mantra that it’s better to be overdressed than underdressed (at least your employer knows that you are taking your job seriously, and you can alter your wardrobe accordingly once you’ve got a feel for the office-and your first paycheck!).
  • Start saving! If you’ve already got a job lined up, you’re sorted. If you haven’t, you won’t need to be told how hard it is to get a job-any job- in this day and age. It’s a harsh truth that you may be unemployed for months before landing a job, and it won’t be fun not being able to join your friends on nights out celebrating when they land a job, just because of your lack of funds.
  • Start researching-not only potential dream jobs, but anything else you may be interested in doing as a stop-gap until your dream job becomes available/your application is successful. If you have considered other options, you will be more prepared to adapt your CV accordingly if a relevant job is advertised.

Follow Laura on Twitter @scribbling_lau or read her personal blog here: http://scribblinglau.blogspot.com/

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