The 4 Best New Year’s Resolutions To Make For Your College Students

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Going to the gym more often, earning a 4.0 GPA, graduating on time, and finding the perfect first job are just a few things you might find on a graduating senior’s list of New Year’s resolutions. But while they’re on winter break, career service advisors should be creating their own list of resolutions for students to follow.

New Year’s resolutions are usually personal lists and goals, however getting students through your door and helping them prioritize their last two semesters may be the ticket to help them reach career success.

In fact, a new Gallup report found 67 percent of graduates who visited career services are more likely to be employed full-time for an employer or for themselves than those who didn’t. So, it’s  important to sit down with students to discover what resolutions will best fit their personalities and post-graduation goals.

Here are four New Year’s resolutions to make for your graduating students in 2017:

1. Get an internship.

Learning in a classroom is beneficial, of course, but it’s hands-on training that really prepares students for the working world.

Unfortunately, the Gallup study found just 55 percent of college graduates say they had a job or internship as an undergraduate that allowed them to apply what they were learning in the classroom. Of those who did land an internship, 32 percent say they acquired it through a professor, and 28 percent say they found theirs with the help of a university faculty or staff member.

Encourage your students to focus on using available resources — like faculty and staff — to help them get an internship. Have them share their goals with campus leaders who may not be the obvious first choice. For example, the English professor may have unexpected connections with an advertising agency, law firm, or even hospital staff.

2. Do volunteer work.

Not everyone is able to find a suitable internship, and it’s important to let your students know that’s OK. Volunteer work provides the same opportunities to enhance their resume and make valuable connections.

Help tie their passions and personalities into volunteer opportunities and make sure they understand this work is an alternative, not a downgrade. Use previous examples of successful graduates who volunteered, rather than interned, to show the validity this type of experience can bring to the workforce.

3. Find a mentor.

Students need a mentor who can provide reassurance that they’re not alone in their struggles. This guidance will prepare them for the challenges they’ll face in the ‘real world.’

Mentors are also the perfect sounding block for students to bounce their goals and dreams off of before jumping head-first into a career. About a quarter of college graduates strongly agree they had a mentor who encouraged them to pursue their goals and dreams while obtaining their undergraduate degree, according to the previously mentioned Gallup survey.  

After getting to know your students, help them find a mentor who will best match their goals and personalities. Helping them connect with faculty while still on campus can set them up for a lasting relationship after graduation that can assist them in getting acquainted with their first job.

4. Listen to a podcast.

Many of your students may not know the immense number of podcasts available to them. They can provide students with inspiration, new goals, and even career idols.

Challenge students to make this a habit in 2017. They can listen while doing dishes, driving to work, in between classes, or while at the gym. This is a task that doesn’t take a lot of time and gives them updated information on their industry of choice, putting them ahead of the competition when it comes time for interviews.

No matter what resolutions you and your students make this year, it’s crucial to follow up and help them see each one through. We all know how easy it is to become distracted in the new year and completely forget the challenges we set up for ourselves. Keep in touch with a weekly email to see how things are progressing and offer your assistance.

What resolutions are you making for your students this year? Let us know in the comments below!

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Val Matta
Val Matta
Val Matta is the vice president of business development at CareerShift, a comprehensive job hunting and career management solution that gives job seekers complete control over their job search. It's available for individual users, university and military career services centers, libraries, and corporations seeking to offer outplacement assistance to former employees. Connect with Val and CareerShift on LinkedIn.