The world after college is a whole new ballgame and many graduates don’t know what the real world means until they get their feet wet. In most cases, the education you acquire at college is aimed at making you ‘book smart’ instead of ‘people smart’. While many graduates learn valuable career lessons the hard way, you can consider yourself lucky to find them ahead of time and all in one place. Have a look at these ten career lessons that your teachers may not tell you.

1. Your degree isn’t everything.

Unlike what you believe, many employers won’t care where you went to school or what your degree was about. The major focus of employers is on the skills and whether you have the potential to perform after getting the training. Fresh grads have the hardest time looking for a job as their resume does not have any mention of work experience. To overcome this challenge, you must focus on getting internships and volunteer positions and make up for the experience employers are looking for.

2. Employers look for people who are already trained.

This is a harsh reality that most employers will shy out of hiring fresh grads just because they have little training or experience. Employers will always find those people more ‘hireable’ who have already acquired some relevant training. If you manage to take on a few internships during college, your chances of getting hired and clearing a job interview can increase tenfold.

3. You must know how to communicate your story.

A visible and critical trait of successful people is their ability to say what they intend to say. In order to be a success in your career, you must know how to communicate. Without effective communication, your message can turn into a mistake or worse a confusion. Many misunderstandings, frustrations, and even disasters happen when you are unable to communicate and a message is misinterpreted or poorly delivered. Poor communication skills are not just a hurdle in a job interview or your work, they can also hold you back in social and personal relationships.

4. You can change your mind.

Life does not operate in a linear fashion – you don’t always get what you are looking for. Many graduates tend to select a field of their choice but when they start working they discover that things are a lot different from the way they had expected. However, it does not mean that you will have to start over and get another degree. All you need to do is keep your options open and select a degree that makes you eligible for a number of jobs.

5. Do more than what’s asked of you.

Mediocre efforts translate into mediocre results. In order to stand out in your college or professional life, you will need to do more than what’s expected of you. After completing your assigned tasks, you must take on work that challenges you to be even better. Plus, you must not shy away from tedious work that no one else wants to do, as your persistence and co-operation can work wonders. It could result in an excellent job, promotion, a raise or even a leadership position.

6. Make sure you are visible.

Your survival lies in your visibility. Your efforts will only be appreciated when you stand up and let people know that you are making an effort. If you appear on the back pages instead of the front pages of a book, you may see others taking credit for your efforts. You will have to go out there and sell your qualities and display your efforts. You might make a fool of yourself at times or experience setbacks but being out there and maintaining your visibility is the only way to survive. This rule does not just apply to individuals, but large corporations and businesses as well. In fact, corporations invest large sums to maintain and enhance their visibility.

7. You must be ready to fail in order to succeed.

Failure is essential for learning and experience. If the fear of failure holds you back, you will miss all the chances that could lead you to success. The more you are willing to try out new things, the more opportunities you will get. You can leverage your capabilities by not fearing failure and considering it as a stepping-stone toward growth and success. While many people hold themselves back because of the fear, successful people will show courage in the face of adversity and find out a way.

8. Adjust to the changes in marketplace

Don’t be too comfortable with your skills and knowledge. Make sure you are in touch with the latest trends and best practices, as these will help you stay ahead in your career. Comfort zones may not seem to be hurting you but you can find yourself in a fix, if you stop learning and start living a stagnant life. You must remind yourself that you cannot be complacent about a situation that is slowly getting worse. You must be mindful of the changes that take place around you and adjust accordingly.

9. Do not just consume but also create

Your careers should not be based on consuming other people’s ideas or following rules set by others. You must add value to your work by making positive changes, following best practices, creating new ways of doing things, making presentations, and coming up with new ideas. Do not regurgitate what others produce or create, instead add value to whatever you do, and you will eventually have a fulfilling career.

10. Love the means, not just the end.

If you want long lasting success in your career, make sure you enjoy what you do. You must be willing to enjoy the journey rather than just focusing on the pay out. In the process, you will have to ignore schemes that promise to make you rich overnight. Your career should be based on something that is meaningful to you and you should be focused on developing a career through hard work, persistence, and creativity.

Many tend to learn these lessons the hard way and unfortunately some never realize why they are struggling with their careers. With the abovementioned tips and guidelines, you can start your journey after graduation with a possibility of a fulfilling, dynamic, and successful career. If you also have some useful career tips, feel free to share them with us in the comments below.