By Lori Smith
December not only marks the beginning of winter but also the holiday season. Although this is certainly a happy time for most people it can also be a very stressful time as well. It is crunch time for students to complete class projects, assignments and final exams. In anticipation of the winter break many students create a bucket list of things to do such as relaxing, catching up with friends and traveling. It is important to take time to slow down and partake in relaxing activities to rejuvenate. While this is true, it doesn’t mean that you should only focus on “fun” activities. Take advantage of this time off to also advance your career development. Consider adding some of the following to your bucket list:
Update your resume. Review your accomplishments, add courses completed, activities, internships, volunteer experiences, and GPA. Your resume is a living document and will always need to be updated. It is easiest if you keep it as current as possible so that it will be ready whenever an opportunity arises.
LinkedIn is a valuable tool for networking and the job search. Take this time to update your account or to create a LinkedIn account if you don’t already have one. Upload a professional picture of yourself; create a professional summary, list positions you have held, and your achievements. LinkedIn provides many tutorials to assist you.
Winter break provides many opportunities to network: parties, family gatherings, meeting up with old friends and making new acquaintances. Sharing your career goals and asking others about theirs is a great beginning. Networking is all about making connections and seeing how you can help one another.
Not only is volunteering a much needed community service, it will make you feel good about yourself and help others in the process. Many companies are looking for well-rounded candidates. Be sure to include any volunteerism on your resume.
Job Shadowing/Informational Interviews
Job Shadowing and informational interviews are a great way to find out more about a position that you feel may be of interest to you. Use your network to identify and reach out to someone you may be interested in shadowing or interviewing. Many people would be flattered and welcome the opportunity to give back to others. Chances are that someone helped them along the way.
Having a well-balanced bucket list will allow for you to make the most out of your winter break. It is never too early to begin preparing for your career. Taking some steps along your career path will allow you to return spring semester feeling refreshed and self-confident.