Each year in December many of us begin to think about ways we can make the following year better. We may follow a very organized and methodical process by capturing our ideas and thoughts on paper; or we may just find ourselves reflecting and thinking about specific ways to improve our lives as we begin to approach a brand New Year. You may be thinking about ways you can leverage your academic achievements towards helping you land a professional job after graduation as a college student. Students who graduated over the course of the past couple of years found themselves happy to just find any job they could do until the economy rebounded. Below I have included 10 things that college students can do to better prepare themselves for a future career. It is critical that students begin preparing themselves early in their college career and begin understanding what employers look for when filling vacant positions with new college graduates due to the increased competition for new jobs. Create a list of personal and Professional objectives and goals. This list will help you stay on target. Be sure to write down three or four objectives on how you plan to meet those goals once you’ve established the top goals that you want to accomplish.

Top tips for college students

Seek to Understand Your Individual Personality, Values, Interests, and Skills in Addition to Identifying Your Personal Strengths and Weaknesses. The first step to career planning process is doing a thorough self-assessment. By speaking with a career counselor at your college you can help yourself uncover some of your personal attributes and begin to understand yourself a little bit better. There are also a number of assessments you can take to help guide you in the right direction. Researching can help you further clarify your goals and assist you in the decision making process, whether it is to actively research potential majors or career options. You may begin by researching available job shadowing and internship opportunities to gain relevant experience in the work force. Initially you may want to create a general resume listing all of your skills and accomplishments. You will want to read over the qualifications of the position you are applying for and make sure your resume and cover letter are targeted to the specific position and organization as you get ready to apply for internships and/or jobs. Research out and network with such people that you know as well as alumni from your college for the purpose of discussing their individual career path, how they got to where they are today, and for recommendations on how you might break into the industry yourself. Contact friends, family, previous employers, alumni from your college to set up a 20 or 30 informational interview session over the phone.  You may ask to meet them for coffee or do a face-to-face interview at their office or organization in case they are nearby.