I taught English in the public school system for a little under three years. It wasn’t the right fit for me, so after a heaven-sent job hunt, I jumped into the corporate world as a Technical Editor.
While it was the most significant life-upgrade to date, there was definitely a learning curve when it came to “how things are done”… here’s a few pearls I wish I had known in the beginning:
Learn the language
Take time (and ask for advice) on tracking how you spend your time and putting words to the value you are bringing to your job. And most importantly, learn to “Cover Your A$$” (CYA) by learning the policies or creating backup systems for getting things approved and turned in on time.
Network like a beast
In the non-profit world, you network to make friends and support causes (Mainly, I think, because promotions just don’t exist in public schools).In the real world, you network for business opportunities.
Remember the name of any and everyone you meet. When you need a connection, a job, or a temp, just pull out those cards and you’ve got the information to nail it! (We get our free business cards from VistaPrint, but I’ve heard great things about Moo as well!)
Dress the part
In your non-profit/education world, you dressed like a professor and probably for comfort.While my teaching uniform was (and had to be) flexible, you’re in the real world now.
For guys, pick up a sharp black or grey suit and a handful of khakis. For ladies, your money is not better spent in any other way than perfectly-fitted black pants and dress shoes. (They don’t do much plus-size, but I pine for Banana Republic and Express pants and shoes from DSW.)
There are a few more specific tidbits about how to dress over at Brazen Life from my article a few days ago, 4 Tips for Transitioning from College to Your First Job.