What type of healthcare should I choose? How do I build my professional network? How much should I put into my 401K and HSA? What is the most appropriate attire to wear to a client site? These were all questions I did not have the answer to when I started working at Credera this past July. I had been an intern previously, but that was like “diet corporate.” This was the real deal. There was a fair bit of trial and error over the first several months as I transitioned from a college student into a full-time employee in the working world. Below are some of the key takeaways and pieces of advice I wish I would’ve known sooner that hopefully can assist fellow former college students. Some of these points are really just common sense, but they’re worth mentioning.
Updating LinkedIn: I try to connect to everyone I can on LinkedIn. You never know when those connections could turn into real opportunities somewhere down the line. That person you sat next to in Software Engineering could be a CEO someday.
Updating the Wardrobe: A few sets of good dress clothes can go a long way. Personally, I did not own nearly enough dress clothes to wear them on a regular basis. It’s also smart to have a few more casual clothing options if you’re on-site with a client that has a relaxed dress code.
Writing Professional Emails: Coming out of college, I was in the habit of writing less-than-professional emails. One of Credera’s core values is professionalism, so establishing myself as a professional through clear, concise, and grammatically correct emails was important. I use Grammarly, which is a great tool for automatically proofreading and catching spelling errors or common grammar issues.
Receiving Feedback: Credera has a mentorship program and a bi-annual review process, so I took every opportunity to get feedback on my performance and make adjustments well before the official review. Credera’s mentorship program is a great way to receive in-flight feedback from both your formal and informal mentors throughout the lifecycle of your projects.
Utilizing the Portal: Credera has a very useful portal for retrieving documents, looking up employees, and accessing slide decks. I use it fairly often to look up some of Credera’s guides on structured writing. Look for whatever intranet content your company offers and take advantage of it.
Meal Prepping: I hardly did any cooking in college so there was a learning curve for me, but you’ll save a lot of time and money if you prepare your meals in advance. Crockpots are great too, as are overnight oats.
Staying Active: It’s important to stay active when you’re working eight-plus hours behind a desk in a fairly sedentary profession. I exercise before work at 6 a.m., which was a tough transition from college, but it keeps my evenings free and gives me a good jumpstart for the day. Investing in a standing desk is also advised if working conditions allow.
Socializing: I joined a city tennis league and local Bible study. Meeting people outside of your immediate group of coworkers is harder when you’re at work all day and don’t have the convenience of sports and college social organizations (not that you shouldn’t also make friends with your coworkers, I’m good friends with a lot of them).
Investing: I did a fair bit of research regarding 401Ks, Roth IRAs, HSAs, and what types of investments are recommended for young people in the workforce. Whatever you decide, I would highly recommend taking advantage of any corporate match on investments—it’s free money. Disclaimer: I am not an officially licensed financial consultant, so follow my financial advice at your own risk. Speaking of which, it would be smart to find a professional financial planner. It’s never too early to start planning your financial future.
Building Credit: I got a credit card that I pay off every month and I make sure I’m consistently paying my student loans. The sooner the better on this one: I wish I would have applied for a credit card five years ago. Building a good credit history helps tremendously with getting good rates on loans down the road.
Creating a Budget: I’ve never had to worry about this before because I’ve never had money. I use Mint by Intuit personally because it’s free, but YNAB is also very good (and paid) budgeting software that helps keep track of managing loans, grocery shopping, rent, and any other bills.
Hopefully, these points of insight and advice prove helpful for fellow recent grads making their way in the working world. Credera’s onboarding process did a great job helping me transition into the corporate atmosphere and I would definitely recommend them as a friendly work environment for recent grads (especially if you like ping pong).
Culture is something that is experienced in a variety of different ways. We’re sharing the many ways Crederians experience our culture in a series called My Credera. The heart behind this series is for our company, employees, clients, and friends to have an inside look at the Credera culture by reading about our employees’ “My Credera” moments. In this series, we are talking about our core values, personal and professional growth, mentorship, community involvement, favorite Credera memories, life after college, and what it looks like to create a career at Credera.
At Credera, we love to celebrate every achievement, milestone, and moments of growth. We are excited to open up and invite you in to experience those celebrations with us. If you’d like to learn more about joining the Credera family, we invite you to visit our careers page.