What now? 5 tips for college graduates entering the workforce


DSC 7735 What now? 5 tips for college graduates entering the workforce
Cheers! (Birmingham-Southern College)

College is over and graduation has passed. Whether you’ve started a new job or are still on the hunt, we’ve compiled five awesome tips from Birmingham-Southern grads to listen to as you enter this new chapter of life.

1. Be yourself

HO3A8518 What now? 5 tips for college graduates entering the workforce
CeCe Lacey made her way back to BSC to become the Director of Career Services. (Birmingham-Southern College)

This is one of the most important tips for college graduates. Yes, employers are looking at your skill set and experience, but they also want someone who will work well within their culture. Being yourself is essential in making sure you end up in the right place for not only the company, but yourself.

“Remaining true to yourself throughout the interview process will help you stand out and allow employers to see your personality and who you really are. Don’t forget it is also so important that a position is actually a good fit for YOU. A great way to get a glimpse into company culture is to ask folks about a day in the life in their role and/or why they chose and continue to choose to work at their company.”

CeCe Lacey, Director of Career Services, Birmingham-Southern College, BSC Class of 2012

2. Speak up and ask questions

tips for college graduates
Just the beginning. (Michelle Puryear)

Be honest. Not sure about something? Ask questions. Employers will value someone willing to learn and be honest about their mistakes.

“Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Everyone started somewhere. Realize that everyone in the company is on your side, not competing with you.”

Patrick Newsom, Supervisor, Warren Averett, BSC Class of 2017

When you’re first starting out, speaking up can be a little intimidating. Everyone feels that way, so don’t be afraid to speak your mind!

“Make sure to have your voice heard. Sometimes it feels like I may not be qualified to speak up in some meetings, but a different perspective is so valuable.

Cole Dunn, Specialist, Special Olympics, BSC Class of 2016

3. Learn from everything

birmingham walking
Birmingham-Southern College Campus. (Jacob Blankenship / Bham Now)

Remember every moment is an opportunity to learn. Some of those moments are obvious and some, not so much.

Sometimes, the skills and knowledge you are gaining as a college student don’t seem so important in the moment. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Take advantage of what you’ve learned while getting your education—it will make a world of difference when you transition into life after college.

“So many of the skills inherent in a typical BSC student experience are so important in the workplace – critical thinking, problem solving, teamwork, willingness to learn, and communication, just to name a few. These crucial skills have helped me succeed throughout my career and I encourage students to recognize they are building on these every day.”

CeCe Lacey, Director of Career Services, Birmingham-Southern College, BSC Class of 2012

4. Interview, interview, interview!

Repsy lead sales representative
Graham Huguley, Head of Sales at Repsy (Jacob Blankenship / Bham Now)

Experience is everything. Putting yourself out there and interviewing will make you more comfortable with the process and help you land a job right where you belong.

“Any interview is a good interview. Getting repetition in the interview space is important. No matter if you get the job or not. Be willing to interview! It will serve you well in whatever career path you choose in your future.”

Graham Huguley, Head of Sales, Repsy, BSC Class of 2020

5. Be open to new things

Nathan Watson with Camera
Bham Now’s very own Nathan Watson. (Bham Now)

You may have graduated from college, but your education is far from over—in fact, it’s just beginning. Be open to everything. Get involved, try new things, volunteer for new experiences and continue to grow yourself as a person. This is where you will learn the most.

“My biggest advice to someone entering the workforce is to just be open to new things. It might be a “shock” to transition from the college schedule to a full-time role at a company, but be open to the new experience and give it your all.”

Nathan Watson, Senior content producer, Bham Now, BSC class of 2019

Starting your post-grad life can be the most exciting but scary time. A new phase of life has just begun. Take this time and enjoy life while honing your skills as you go. And keep these tips in mind while you’re at it. 😉

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