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New (academic) year, new you

By Irene Aitkenhead Taylor - Posted on 4 September 2013

Two weeks ahead of the new semester, Strathclyde Business School’s Career and Professional Development Manager, Irene Aitkenhead Taylor discusses how to students returning this autumn can get the most out of the year ahead…

We've all been there, coming back to our work or studies following a break, feeling  positive, driven and with a to-do list as long as your arm. You've taken time away, regrouped and now you're returning with a solid action plan. Great.

However, as time goes by, despite your best intentions, things get in the way and before you know it, you've slipped back into an old routine and grand plans have fallen by the wayside. If these goals are to eat less chocolate or to spend less time watching TV, letting them slip might not be that earth shattering, but if they concern your future prospects then it’s a different story.

Whether you want to secure an internship, get on to a graduate programme or find the right career, it’s important you don’t allow yourself to become distracted. A lack of attention now can have serious consequences in the future.

Of course, this is easier said than done. So how do you avoid falling into a rut, and how do you ensure plans for the academic year ahead come to fruition?

Here are three tips  to keep you on track:

1. Break it down

Say you want to secure an international internship with a multinational company this summer. Instead of focusing on the overall goal, break down the steps you'll need to get there, then map out how and when you'll achieve them. At the end of this time, if you've completed each of these tasks the chances are you'll have reached your overall goal.

2. Think S.M.A.R.T

When setting out how you plan to reach your objectives for the year ahead, use this simple mnemonic to make sure they are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely.

3. Put your hand up

Studying is tough, especially in the later years of a degree, and it can be easy to feel swamped and overwhelmed.

Don't let this take your focus away from the task at hand; your future. Instead of crumpling under the pressure, draw on those around you to achieve your goals. Peers, tutors and your academic network can all be excellent sources of support.

In the coming weeks, ahead of the beginning of the new semester, Strathclyde Business School's experienced careers team will be on hand to provide advice and support on planning for your future, CVs and interview techniques.

Having spent the summer speaking to our industry contacts, we'll also be able to let you know about the latest internship and graduate opportunities, and can advise you on what real world employers are looking for right now.

Have you got any tips to share on developing career prospects? How have you balanced studies with work experience and personal development? Let us know in the comments below…

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