Navigating the Workplace – Advice for College Graduates


Graduating from college is an exciting moment for anyone, but the thrill can be quickly overshadowed by the fear of the future. What’s next? How will you get a job? Where do you start? There is far more to job-seeking than simply handing out resumes and hoping for the best. There are sometimes hundreds of people that apply for a single job opening, so it is important to make yourself stand out to potential employers. And even when you do land a job, there are certain traits that are important to maintaining a solid reputation in your field. Luckily, we have collectively come up with three important areas of focus to help you navigate the workplace.

 Benefits of an ePortfolio


(Original Media: Melissa Pigg)

Having an ePortfolio is very important for college students or anyone looking to connect with future employers (Barnstable, 2010). An ePortfolio is where you can document your educational and citizenly accomplishments. It is a helpful space for personal reflect, and for future employers to see these accomplishments as well. Creating an ePortfolio gives can give many benefits for students looking for a career.

Personal benefits for students include:

  • being able to take time and consideration into assessing your goals and past accomplishments
  • take time to acknowledge sections of improvement
  • you will have a personal record of your education and participation of personal developmental activities
  • may have feelings of self confidences as you reflect on past experiences
  • will help to narrow your career planning

Remember, as you change and grow as a person with new accomplishments and goals, your ePortfolio should change as well.

Career-orientated goal planning


When setting goals for your future career it can be beneficial to break down your goals into long and short-term goals, as to not get overwhelmed. A long-term goal is a goal that you hope to accomplish after years of being in your profession. Creating a long-term goal is creating a “place to identify your big goal” (Topan, 2014). When setting long-term goals some things to keep in mind are:

  • Take your time- you should not be rushed, deciding your future takes time. (Berkley, 2016)
  • Consider your core values- Try to become in touch with your core values to really understand what kind of end career and setting you want to be in (Berkley, 2016).
  • Tune out your negativity- these are goals you are setting, keep them positive; you are capable of anything you put your mind to! There is no room for self-doubt when setting your goals (Berkley, 2016)
  • Don’t get distracted- review and reassess your long-term goal as needed, but keep it close to your thoughts as you make professional and educational decisions to stay on track with your timeline (Topan, 2014).

When it comes to your short-term goals they should not be as broad as your long-term ones (Topan, 2014). Your short-term goals are when you can narrow down on specific things that you want to accomplish to get you closer to that end goal; your dream career. When you set your short-term goals you should set realistic end dates as to when you want to accomplish that specific task (Topan, 2014).

How to set short-term career goals:

  • Firstly, consider how this goal is going to help you become closer to your long-term goal(s) (Topan, 2014).
  • Keep these short-term goals just that “short-term”, aim to accomplish them within the next two years (Topan, 2014).
  • Keep these goals particular, narrowing in on specific activities that may seem small now but in the end will be important for keeping you on track to accomplish your long-term goal (Topan, 2014).



Dressing nice and having the right qualifications on your resume is not the only thing you need to land your dream job. In order to have a long-term and a successful job, you have to be professional. Professionalism is extremely important in the workplace. Professionalism can benefit the company’s reputation, mural and success (4 reasons why you need to be professional, 2016). All employees should be professional; body language and attitude also play a large role in the workplace. Avoid a unkept appearance, inappropriate language or volume of voice, missed deadlines, lack of motivation or care, blaming others, not respecting privacy and not holding up your end of the work. (4 reasons why you need to be professional, 2016). Having a bad day is completely normal and can be expected from time to time, but it can show up in your work performance; this doesn’t mean that your professionalism gets pushed to the side. Being professional should always be practiced when at work. Leave all unnecessary baggage at the door when stepping into work; if you are really having a bad day, it is better to call in sick or your bad day could cost you your job. Here are a few points that can help with being professional at work

  • Dress according to the dress code
  • Respect every employee and treat them with dignity
  • Refrain from using obscene or derogatory language
  • Communicate clearly with everyone
  • Put personal problems aside before you enter your work
  • Don’t gossip



In the end, it is about you as an individual presenting yourself in the best light. You have survived countless exams, assignments, and group presentations so that you could go on to be a professional in your field. It’s important to show that perseverance, determination and passion to your future employers before and after you are hired. You’ve worked hard to get to where you are, and this is your opportunity to prove to your peers that you will succeed. Reward yourself by using the right tools and mannerisms that reflect the kind of employee and person you truly are.


Barnstable, K. (2010, January 8) 41 Benefits of an ePortfolio[Blog post]. Retrieved form

Brooks, A. (n.d.). Rasmussen College. Retrieved from 

Topan, R.  (2014, October 28). Creating A Career Plan: Short-, Medium- And Long-Term[Blog post]. Retrieved from

UC Berkely. (2016). Goal-setting: Developing a vision & goals for your career plan. Retreived from


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