Top 9 Tips for College Students

Creating Goals and Objectives for a Brighter Future

Graduate students receiving diplomas at graduation ceremony
••• Barry Austin Photography/Iconica/Getty Images

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.


As a college student, you may be thinking about ways you can leverage your academic achievements towards helping you land a professional job after graduation. 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 prepare themselves better for a future career. Due to the increased competition for new jobs, it's 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.

Create Personal and Professional Goals

When I was in college, I had a whiteboard that said goals. And the first thing on the list was “land a job at a talent agency when I graduate.” Guess what I did when I graduated? That’s right! I landed a job at a talent agency. I encourage students to write down three personal goals and three professional goals for each school year.

You Don’t Have to Say Yes to Everything

I wish I knew that I didn’t have to say yes to everything in college. I joined too many clubs, hung out with too many random people, and sometimes didn’t feel like no was an option. At the time, I didn’t realize that time was the most precious thing we have. I think if I would have known that I would have spent my time a bit differently.

Befriend Your Professors

If I could go back to college, I would spend more time going to professor’s office hours, asking them questions about their career path, and I would have made sure to articulate my career goals to them.

Professors have so much wisdom, experience, and advice and sometimes we forget to tap into that during our college years.

Keep an Updated Resume & Cover Letter

You never know when you’ll meet someone who might be able to help move your career forward, get you an internship, or help you get an opportunity. Make sure that you always have an updated resume or cover letter handy.

When someone asks for a copy, you want to be able to send something over quickly. You also want to make sure that it’s always updated with the most recent information (campus involvement, internships, etc.).

Attend Local Networking Events.

As a college student, you’ll be able to get student discounts and often free visits to local networking groups. Even though you might not want to live in the city where you go to college, take the opportunity to practice your networking skills locally.

Challenge yourself to talk to strangers and network and connect with different people from different industries. As an example of what to attend, if you are an advertising major, you could research local networking groups for professionals in the advertising industry.

Conduct Informational Interviews

Contact friends, family, previous employers, alumni from your college to set up a 20 or 30 informational interview sessions over the phone. If they are nearby, you may ask to meet them for coffee or do a face-to-face interview at their office or organization. 

Job shadowing is a great way to learn more about a career field of interest by spending time with someone currently working in the field.

Find an Internship. 

As the Intern Queen, it’s my job to encourage young people to seek out internship opportunities. I believe they have the power to change and positively influence the careers of young people everywhere.             


Find a cause you are passionate about and start volunteering. It’s easier to start in college and continue when you enter the real world. Once you enter the real world and start working, it can be hard to stop everything and find volunteer opportunities.

There are numerous volunteer organizations available. You can find one either at your college or in your college community or when you are home during a break or over the summer.

Get Involved on Campus

The number one thing employers want to see on your resume is campus involvement. They want to see that you didn’t just join an organization but you actually stepped up to the plate to lead the organization.