Setting New Year’s Resolutions – Not just about eating less chocolate

New Year’s is a time for making resolutions. While they often center around eating healthier, going to the gym, or committing to save more money, it is equally important to spend some time thinking about what professional goals you have for the coming year. Making a plan early in the New Year will allow you to periodically review your progress.

Here are a few ideas of areas to focus on:

Internship Applications

The first step to landing a great internship, is submitting an application on time (or better yet, ahead of time). Do your research early. Make a detailed list of all of the organizations or internship programs in which you are interested. Take note of application procedures and deadlines. Referring to this list often will help ensure that you don’t miss an opportunity because of a past deadline or forgotten writing sample.

Decide which internship or study abroad programs you will pursue. Remember, you can’t do everything in one summer. Talk to your parents, professors and mentors about which experiences will benefit you most and help you to achieve your long-term career goals. Narrowing your focus early will help you make a commitment when the time comes.

Networking

Taking advantage of networking opportunities is important no matter what stage of your career you are in. It is especially key when you are internship or job searching. Set a goal of how many events or receptions you will plan to attend throughout the year. Keep an eye out for chances to meet with professionals in the field in which you are interested. Such events can range from formal receptions to alumni career panels at your university.

Don’t be afraid to talk to people. It only gets easier with practice. If there’s an event you’re interested in, bring a friend along. Having a mingling partner will make it easier to start conversations with new connections. Ask for business cards when possible and be sure to follow up within the next couple of days.

Staying in Touch

Maintaining a professional contact list is a must. Staying in regular contact with these people is even more important. You don’t want to make a nuisance of yourself with too frequent emails or calls to former supervisors, professors and colleagues, but by giving these people an occasional update on your latest internships, activities and projects, you’ll stay fresh in their minds. When an opportunity that matches your interests and skills comes along, you’ll be one of the first people they think of.

Track your communications on your contact list. This will help make sure you are staying in regular touch without over doing it. Also, keep notes of topics to cover in your email updates.  You’ll be better equipped when it’s time to draft your correspondence.

Good preparation makes all challenges in life easier to meet. By creating a professional plan of action now, you will start the year off on the right foot and put yourself on the road toward achieving your career goals.

Hears to sticking to resolutions in 2012 – Happy New Year!

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