By: Sarah Wilkinson, Professional Writing ‘17
(on behalf of Champlain College Career Services)
We’re over 2014, but we’re also over making resolutions that we don’t keep. Maybe resolution number one for 2015 should be to start keeping our resolutions. Why is it so hard, anyway? According to lifehack.org, “The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around its non-achievement”. This means we just avoid setting goals altogether, or make small ones that won’t hurt our self-esteem too bad if we don’t meet them.
The way to achieve goals you set is to break them down into manageable tasks. That’s career resolution #1. If your goal is to write a novel, for example, break that goal down into manageable tasks: write for 30 minutes every day, read a book on writing, plan some time away to regenerate. From a career perspective, maybe your goal is to find a job. Break it down into tasks: visit career services, write your resume, research companies, practice for the interview.
That reminds us, visit us here at Career Services sometime this year. That’s career resolution #2. By scheduling an appointment with your career advisor, you get an hour or 30 minutes (depending on your advisor) to talk about whatever you want, so long as it’s career-relevant. Start the conversation about your dream career and your advisor can help you figure out how to get there. They will help you achieve career resolution #1 by helping you break your dreams into manageable tasks!
That’s career resolution #3: get a career game plan. Whether you’re a first year or will be graduating in May, it’s never too early – or late – to figure out what your next steps will be. If you’re a first year, this may just mean talking to your advisor and start considering your career options. For a sophomore, it might mean figuring out what internships would get you closer to your dream career. For a junior, it may mean starting conversations with people in your field and building your network. If you’re a senior, it may mean figuring out what you want and what you have the skills and experience to do, and finding a first job that takes both into account.
You may be saying, “Well this is all very nice, but you’re crazy if you believe that I’m going to start thinking about post-graduation. It’s scary, and I’d rather not.” This is career resolution #4: stop looking at post-graduation as something that should be in italics, so far away and foreign. It doesn’t have to be nearly so scary if only you plan for it a bit. What’s truly terrifying is graduating with no job, no prospects, and no plan. Don’t let that be you!
On that note, stop limiting yourself. That’s career resolution #5. When you tell yourself that you can’t, you change your behavior – and not in a good way (“Limiting Beliefs”). Ultimately, if you think you aren’t good enough for that job, you won’t be. Letting yourself think expansively, letting yourself say, “Yeah, I think I could probably do that,” will open up so many doors to companies you want to work for (and close doors to companies you don’t want to work for, but may have settled for before you changed your outlook).
That leads us to career resolution #6: celebrate your successes and reflect on your failures. This applies to all facets of your life, but especially in your search for your career path. Failure is an important way we learn about ourselves and about the things we want. If we didn’t get that job, part of the reason may be because we didn’t really want it to begin with. So what do we want? And what can we do to get it? It’s important to celebrate our successes because they keep our self-esteem high and make us feel like our hard work has been worth it. This encourages us to continue our hard work, to keep our heads held high through the minefield that job searching, ladder climbing, cold calling, and all facets of career life seem like. We do it all in the hopes that we find fulfillment in our chosen path.
Here’s to 2015. We hope you get one step closer to wherever you decide you want to be, even if that one step is deciding where you want to be in the first place. Remember, we’re always here to help, plus we enjoy a good celebration, so please share your success stories with us, Champlain College Career Service. www.champlain.edu/careerservices