Happy New Year and Welcome 2015!!

I have always loved January 1st of every year for a couple reasons. It gives you an opportunity to look back at your past year. All the way from some of your favorite parts (starting my job here at UCF!) to your not-so-favorite parts (leaving my microphone on when I went to the bathroom with 100 UCF freshmen in the other room listening!) I tend to spend most of the time between Christmas and New Years reflecting on the past year – being grateful for the good and trying to figure out lessons from the bad. Apparently Google does that too has they posted a Year in Review video that will give you serious chills –

I had a good feeling when I walked in to the office this morning, my first day back in the new year. And it wasn’t just because of our new fresh bright paint – make sure you come check out our new digs! I walked in with all of 2014 behind me – all the lessons I learned in a new role – and all of 2015 in front of me! I am one of those suckers that actually makes New Years Resolutions. I know you are rolling your eyes at me, but I’ve done it every year. To me – there is beauty in all the madness that comes with New Years Resolutions. For starters – it’s an opportunity to WRITE your goals down. I read somewhere that only 4% of Americans actually write goals down, and less than 1% of them review them regularly. As a huge supporter of written lists and paper agendas, this statistic astonishes me and scares me! If you don’t write your goals down, they’re just dreams!! But resolutions really are there to help you become the person you want to be.

Every year, I make personal goals and career goals. Since my title here at UCF is Career Coach, I feel it most relevant to talk in this blog about how to set some great career goals. Why should you, as a student, set Career goals? Well, for starters, no one will just hand you a job after you walk across the stage and get your diploma. We talk to our students in GEB3003 about starting your Career plans as soon as possible. And a Career plan can’t just be “I’m going to get a job in Accounting”. There are steps that lead up to it and plans of action you need to implement. Sounds easier than it is, and that’s where your Career Coach and our office comes in to play! Here are my top 5 tips on how to successfully set Career goals – and how to make sure you complete them!

  1. Write it down! I had a boss at one of my previous positions that would get our department together after our Christmas party and we would have to write down our goals for the next year and put them in an envelope. We would then re-open them at the end of that next year to see what we accomplished. I liked reading my thoughts that I had written down a year ago and seeing how far I came. But I would also write them down in my planner and I looked at them daily. The envelope just made it a little more fun and interactive!
  2. Break it Up All of us only have so much self-control and discipline. If you break your goals down, it will be less intimidating! Plus you will have lots of small successes, which will motivate you to get to your end goal. If one of your goals is to meet a UCF Alum who works in your dream job, break your goal down step by step. Reach out to contacts on LinkedIN, speak to your professors, do some google searches. Doing these things one at a time, spread out, will help you balance everything as well.
  3. Set Deadlines. We all respond well to time frames and strict deadlines. How many of you that took GEB3003 were frustrated that you didn’t have a set deadline every week to get a certain task done? Well, your professor Lonny Butcher is trying to teach you how to be disciplined and set your own deadlines because later in life, your boss isn’t going to give you step by step deadlines to complete a project. After breaking up your goals, assign due dates to them and hold yourself accountable.
  4. Buddy up! Find someone that you know will support your goals and hold you accountable. This could be your Career Coach, an old boss, a professor, or a friend. Set up regular meetings with them and go over your goals and how you’re doing. Make sure you select someone who you know will push you out of your comfort zone and make you do things you wouldn’t normally do yourself. Kind of think of this as having an accountability partner for the gym. It’s so hard to wake yourself up at 5am to get to the gym, but a friend who calls you at 5am or comes to pick you up to take you to the gym is someone who wants to see you succeed (whether you like to be woken up at 5am or not!). This is also a great way to start a mentor relationship with someone you admire!
  5. Set up Evaluations: When you get your first real job, you’ll learn that companies do things known as Performance Evaluations. Some companies do them every 6 months, some do them just annually. But it’s a chance for you and your manager to sit down and review your performance – what you have done well and what you can improve upon. Well, goals need evaluations as well. Set up a couple evaluation stops along your calendar to look at your progress. What has been working? What hasn’t been working? What haven’t you gotten around to yet? Is your LinkedIn profile done, but you haven’t contacted anyone yet? Is your Experiential Learning account set up, but you haven’t applied for any Internships yet? Have you done some informational interviews with no positive outcomes? Get together with your Accountability partner (Tip #4) to talk these things through and reset your timeline.

I hope some of these tips have helped to motivate you to make 2015 your best year yet!! It could be the year you’ll graduate and start your first job, or it could be your first year in the College of Business and an opportunity to make new friends and contacts. Either way, we are here to help you and look forward to an amazing year!!


Lindsay Bridges

Career Coach – Accounting