‘Adulting’, or ‘entering the real world’ is a common stressor for students as they near graduation. Finding a job is daunting- being able to perform well in that job is an additional challenge. Typical career office programming may not prepare students well enough for everyday scenarios they encounter once they start an internship or job. How can students make connections to expand their professional network? What if they don’t know how to approach their boss to ask for feedback? For someone with decades of work experience, these things may be second nature. For a fresh graduate, these topics may be as anxiety-inducing as the job search itself.
After career offices equip their students with the tangible skills to land a job, what can they do to help students build a soft skill set that ensures success in the workplace? The Penn State Smeal Business Career Center (BCC)’s new ‘#Adulting’ blog series closes the gap between standard career office advice and more practical knowledge students should have before starting their first professional job or internship.
The idea for the #Adulting blogs came about after BCC career coaches recognized a need to communicate workplace expectations through more than just the typical career coaching methods. BCC coach Lauren Watson says, “’Adulting’ is a term that students respond to and use when anticipating the future after graduation. We saw an opportunity to offer words of wisdom that may not have a natural home in our regular career topic coverage”.
Weekly posts answer questions that aren’t normally discussed in a career coaching session or a workshop. The first few blogs have covered topics like ‘how can networking be a mutually beneficial experience?’ or ‘how should I ask for feedback when I’m not getting what I need from my manager?’. Written by BCC career coaches, the blogs share scenarios students may encounter in their first job and how to navigate them in a professional manner. This information is presented with hopes students read them now and can call upon the advice later if they are faced with a dilemma in the workplace.
These blogs are resonating with students. The first #Adulting blog had four times as many students read it as a typical BCC blog posts gets, with 60 students viewing it. The second had 40 views in just under a week. The BCC will continue to monitor traffic as the blogs are posted each week. Blog traffic is driven by sharing it on social media, including it on weekly BCC email blasts to students, and giving it a prominent spot on the BCC website. To read the first three #Adulting blog posts, click here!