I always knew sometime in my near future I would make the transition from college student to professional. However, I didn’t realize how soon it would happen. I’ve been lucky enough to earn my place here at AKHIA and I was recently hired on as an assistant account executive. For now, I’m working three days a week until I can start fulltime after graduation in December.

As I begin my third week as an official “young professional,” I can say it’s already been a whirlwind of lessons. Although working while still in school is a bit unique, it has nevertheless challenged me to start thinking more like a professional. Here are a few tips to help with your transition.

Make yourself familiar
I’ve been in the AKHIA office since April so I feel pretty “at home” here. However, as I transition from my intern role to a professional role, I’ve realized there’s still a lot I don’t know, and that’s OK. I had training sessions when I first started as an intern, so I realized it was a good idea to be proactive and ask to go through a few of the sessions again. I wanted to make sure I was comfortable with every aspect of my new role and the office. I was also assigned clients that I had yet to do any projects for, so I’ve done my best to educate myself on the accounts. Browsing their websites and reading through past projects are just a few ways I’ve tried to educate myself.

Hold yourself accountable
This one might sound a bit silly, but I think it’s important. During the summer I had a wonderful intern supervisor. All my projects filtered through her so she was able to make sure I understood the tasks at hand. She checked in with me on a daily basis so I could ask her any questions and made sure I was getting the most out of my experience. As I transition, I realize I have to be my own supervisor in a sense, because at the end of the day, I am responsible for myself. I physically write out all of the projects I have during the week and check them off as I complete them.

Check in with your team
I wasn’t on a specific team during my internship – I helped out where I was needed. Now as an AAE, I’ve been placed on specific teams for my accounts. Being on a team in the professional world is really beneficial; I’ve already learned so much from every one. I immediately noticed how much collaboration there is among each team. They all support one another to make sure the work gets done. So before I leave every day, I make sure to check in with at least one member from each team to see if they need anything. I want my teams to realize they can count on me for whatever they need, even if I’m only here three days a week.

Ask questions
Just as my fellow intern said in her post on becoming an all-star intern – I think this is still relevant as a new professional. You should never stop being curious. No one is going to get mad at you for wanting to learn and know more about a client, the agency or the profession in general. I want my work to be flawless, and I know it won’t be unless I ask questions. I’m completely OK with the fact that I don’t know everything, and I hope other young professionals feel the same.

Whether your professional career starts next week, next month or next year – make sure you’re prepared to step into bigger shoes. The transition should be smooth, as long as you help yourself out.

What advice do you have for students transitioning into the professional world?