Graduating from college marks the end of formal education and the beginning of productive years in an individual's life. After spending some years acquiring knowledge, you are now set to enter a new phase of life that presents new promises and challenges. However, to ensure a smooth beginning, the crucial phase of transition should be handled carefully.

The phase of transition starts well before you finish the final exams. There is no fixed point but it should ideally be sometime at the beginning of your final year. While in college, you dream big about your career.

You look forward to beginning your professional life with great aspirations and expectations.

With these, you also have some preconceived notions about your abilities and you prospects in the job market. In other words, you are somewhat overconfident about yourself. So the reality comes as a big blow.

The first few weeks of experience with the job market leaves most of the students shocked.

They find it difficult to digest that their ‘simple' shortcomings like ‘not so good' communication skills can prevent them from grabbing the coveted job. Some students get depressed from such experiences and give up job search or land in wrong jobs.

The disparities and dejections during the transition period are the results of lack focus.

There are several factors like your likes, your parents' likes, social status and friends' perspectives that shape your attitude towards work, job and career.

But you should let them all influence only to the extent that help you to make the right decisions.

The following is some advice to choose a suitable field to pursue career and to land in the right first job.

Listen to yourself:Introspection takes time, care and patience. Consider every important factor like passions, abilities, resources and constraints that can determine what kind of career suits you the best. Do not get carried away by fascinations.

Start early:For most of the students, beginning a career appears simple and obvious - finish a bachelor's/ master's degree and take up the job you like.

They do not assess their competence and eligibility till the see a few rejections. They ignore what it really takes to realise their dreams. So, career planning should start early; as early as when you decide which course and college to join.

Plan meticulously:Once you are clear about the kind of career you want to pursue, you should develop a fair idea about where you should be five years from now.

Take into account the opportunities available in the specific industry, its demands and trends. Then set your short-term and long-term goals.

The knowledge and skills you acquire at college are not sufficient to win in the job market. Find out what it takes to assume your dream role. Pave the path to your goals while you are still in college. Talk to seniors, teachers or industry professionals.

Take up internship, apprenticeship or short-term projects to gain experience and understand the work set up. Part-time job during vacation, job shadowing and reading industry specific magazines and material on websites will also give us some knowledge about what people in different roles do.

Ways to explore:Campus placement is an easy way to enter the professional world. Maintain a consistent academic record, pick up good soft skills, take up co-curricular activities and try to get into the good books of your faculty and placement personnel.

Send your resumes to recruitment agencies. Recruitment agencies can guide you through the process of recruitment.

They know precisely what a company is looking for. They can provide valuable inputs for tests and facing interviews. Some recruitment agencies offer even training. Large companies allow students to register with them and notify suitable candidates about their openings.

So, register with such companies and make it a habit to visit their websites regularly. These sites also provide insight to their corporate culture and recruitment practices.

Expand your contacts and start gathering references. Leave a copy of your resume with your seniors, relatives and other acquaintances working in the specific industry.

Once you have offers in your hand, choose the one that gives promises more exposure.

For a few years focus on learning than on earning. Be flexible to alter your career path to suit the changing requirements of the industry. Work hard and success is yours.

Nitya Sai Soumya