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Common Mistakes Recent College Grads Make in the Working World

Fri, 11/09/2012 - 4:26pm | by Mariana Ashley

College graduates are facing numerous difficulties as they leave school and enter the work world. With a troubled economy and dismal job market, many recent grads struggle to even get their foot in the door when it comes to finding professional positions. But what about the struggles recent graduates face when they do finally land that first professional job? Be aware of these professional slip ups before you commit them.


Respecting the line between friend and coworker can be a challenge. Still with a college mindset, newbies to the working world often view meeting coworkers the same way they viewed meeting classmates in school. You see each other every day and eat lunch together often, so why wouldn't your coworkers be your friends. If you want to be successful in the working world, you need to differentiate between work time and social time. This is not to say you cannot become friends with colleagues (of course this is going to happen). But, at work, your colleagues should be treated professionally; outside of work your coworkers can be whatever you like them to be (to a degree). By understanding the difference, young professionals are better able to focus on their jobs and succeed in their careers.

Work Attire

Professional dress is always something to consider carefully as a new college graduate. This topic has been discussed in A Successful Woman, offering wonderful advice on what to wear and how to update your wardrobe for the working world. See related article here.

Most of us know that we need to present ourselves professionally in the working world. However, this can become more and more difficult as careers and offices move online and become virtual. With online business taking off, a need for professional attire in many industries has relaxed. Even so, it's not wise to wear your favorite dorm room yoga pants and college tee to the office, even if all your work is completed online and you never see a client. Remember, dress for the position you want, not the position you have. Our attire is as much about looking the part as it is feeling the part. Put yourself together in a proud and professional manner to exude confidence and professionalism.


Your attitude in the work place is everything. Many newbie grads just entering the workforce are struggling with some very serious attitude dampeners. College graduates today are facing one of the most challenging job markets in decades and making student loan payments that are higher than ever before. These hardships can make entering the wonderful world of working with a positive and confident attitude somewhat of a challenge. Positivity is key. Promoting a positive attitude communicates both confidence and self-motivation—two attributes that are highly sought after. So, as a young 20-something just entering the working world, don't hold your head down and worry about student debt, rent payments, and a dismal economy. Work to project an attitude that can help you succeed both professionally and personally.

Mariana Ashley writes about educational topics for She is particularly interested in modern trends in higher education and the struggles college graduates face in the professional world today. Mariana can be reached at

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