No matter how well you did in school, life post-graduation is going to be different. Very different. If you're looking for a basic guide...

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No matter how well you did in school, life post-graduation is going to be different. Very different.

If you’re looking for a basic guide to help ease the transition from flip-flops to wingtips, a fine choice is “They Don’t Teach Corporate in College: A Twenty-Something’s Guide to the Business World” by Alexandra Levit (Career Press, 2004, $14.99).

Levit’s book covers the nuts and bolts of finding a job after graduation and getting ahead once you’re there. Key skills addressed include how to write a great resume, cultivate strong references and pull off an impressive interview.

Levit, 29, uses lots of anecdotes, many from her own workplace experiences. “After five years of going through this feeling clueless,” she said in an interview, she had plenty.

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One thing she emphasizes is the importance of crafting a corporate persona. You can still be yourself, just a more mature, professional, competent version of yourself, she says. “It doesn’t matter what type of person you are in real life; just think of yourself as an actor playing a role while you are at work. So what if you play drinking games on Friday nights or prefer a book to human company,” she writes.

Levit also does a great job of attacking assumptions that high-achieving college grads drag into the workforce with them, most revolving around how much they should get paid, how frequently they should get promoted, and how their colleagues should behave.

“Got a bad case of negativity?” she writes. “Instead of thinking that something should happen, reframe it as something you would like to happen. You’re still acknowledging your opinions and preferences, but the element of expectation is gone, so you can’t be disappointed.”

Another useful section addresses the difficulty in saying no.

Entry-level staffers frequently find themselves on the receiving end of an impossible number of requests from all over the company.

The secret, according to Levit, is to pre-empt the scramble by formalizing your duties with your boss. When approached by others about a new task, ask that your direct supervisor be consulted first.