To-Do List: Winter Break Edition

happy holidays!

Hip, hip, hooray! Finals are done, you’re headed home for a month-long break, and you have nothing to do but binge watch Netflix… Wrong.

This is the perfect time to be productive in your job search. Don’t get me wrong, you will still have plenty of time to rest, relax, and eat a lot of delicious food, but it’s important to take the time you have off from school to be proactive in your job/internship search. Here are a few tasks you should accomplish over your winter break.

1. Revamp your resume

Winter break is a great time to update your resume. Did you join a club, get promoted, or hold a new leadership position over fall semester? Don’t forget to add these accomplishments to your resume. This is also the perfect time to update your address, GPA, major, minor, and any scholarship awards that may have changed over the last four months.

2. Start the job hunt

This is the time when companies start posting summer internship applications. Make sure you are actively looking for job opportunities while on break. If you find any, take the time and apply for the positions you find. Capitalize on your free time now while you aren’t busy with papers, projects, and readings for your classes.

3. Network

You know all those awesome holiday parties you’re going to?! Use them to your advantage and network with your friends and family. Connect with people and let them know that you are looking for possible career opportunities in the ___ industry. You never know if a friend or family member has a possible contact that can help you land your dream job. Remember: it’s all about who you know.

 

Photo Credit: Melissa Brawner

Hooray for Winter Break!

I don’t know how you feel, but this semester seemed to fly by faster than ever before. It has been a busy semester in Career & Leadership Development, but it’s all a good kind of busy. Just like you, we appreciate the short break between semesters. Amidst taking some time off, many of us will use the break to tackle projects that demand our full attention.

Winter

Over your winter break, you might wish to do the same. Have you been putting off career-related projects because of work, classes, or your social life? Winter break is the perfect time to do some of this work. Here are some ideas for your to-do list:

Do your career homework. Homework?? On break?! Don’t worry, this “assignment” should be enjoyable. Take time over the break to make some decisions on your career direction and the next steps you should take. If you are at the point of trying to decide on a major, explore the career possibilities linked to the majors you are considering. Then, do a little more research on the careers that sounds interesting. Start developing a Plan A, B, and C for career paths.

Develop a career plan for the spring semester. Without overloading yourself with too much to do during the spring semester, identify a few things you can easily accomplish that will get you closer to your career goal. The beginning point for creating your plan is understanding what employers in your field will be looking for in new hires. Here are some ideas for gaining the skills and background employers will be seeking:

Need more ideas? Check out this post from YouTern: Your Back-to-School Checklist Will Never Be the Same

Work on all of those traditional career tasks we tend to put off for later. Add content to your resume (or start writing it if you don’t have one). Spend time building or improving your LinkedIn profile. Create and order networking cards. Whether looking ahead to summer internships or that first job out of college, you’ll want all of these pieces in place for applications, career fairs, networking events, etc.


If you are working on any of these things over the break and have questions, we are still here to help. Our counselors and advisors are taking appointments, and most of us are open to phone appointments, too. You can also email us, which works particularly well for resume reviews. Just contact Career & Leadership Development at 262-472-1471 to schedule an appointment or find our direct contact information here.

Other Winter Break Posts:

Photo by Jarek Zok

Snuggies and Career Planning: Winter Break “R&R”

I can remember sipping the last drop of an energy drink while watching a long night transition to another day. It’s that time of the year again: Finals. I know the pressure you all feel as finals are underway. Luckily, winter break is right around the corner.

Winter break is a time when you can take a mental vacation from coursework and get some good “R&R”: rest and relaxation. Sorry to say, but career planning never takes a break. Getting rest and relaxation is absolutely necessary, but I want to propose an additional type of “R&R” that will help you take another step towards your career aspirations: reflect and reconnect.

Coffee time

Reflect

  • Social media and journals: take the time to look back at your past interactions. How have you grown? What have you learned? Identifying your strengths and experiences make you a more effective interviewer and improves your ability to make career decisions. In addition, employers are very likely to search your name on the internet, so take good care of your online presence. Search your name on Google to explore results and remove any off-putting results. If you do not have a social media presence, take the time to create a LinkedIn page.
  • Master resume: create or update your master resume. A master resume is a placeholder for all of your experiences. When you get ready to submit a targeted resume, you can easily copy and paste experiences from your master resume. Also, this is a great way to maintain an up-to-date resume and to assess additional experiences you would like to pursue.

Reconnect with Family and Friends

  • The Questions: Family and friends will want to know your major, your career aspirations, and every other detail that will take place for the next twenty years of your life. While these questions can be burdensome, welcome them. Your career is a serious matter and whether you are a freshman or senior, discussing your future can lead you to new ideas, create renewed excitement, and challenge you to do more research about your career aspirations. Also, discussing thoughts about your career can help you become more effective in articulating your interests and career aspirations which will be help with interviewing, career fairs, graduate personal statements, and other situations.
  • Networking: Family and friends are a prime source for networking. Connect with family or friends who may be in a career field of interest. Be intentional and these conversations can lead to a variety of opportunities such as a mentor relationship, job shadowing, informational interviews, and future volunteer, internship, or job opportunities.

Make an appointment with a career counselor at Career and Leadership Development to get more tips on effective networking, identifying career interests and majors, and internship or job search strategies during winter break.

Don’t forget to curl up in your snuggie and enjoy your break!

Past entries about ways to utilize winter break:

What To Do During Winter Break?
Winter Break To-Dos: Part 2

Photo by Roger Price.

Winter Break To-Dos: Part 2

Last week, I covered a few things to work on towards your career goals while you’re enjoying winter break. This week I have another item that you can have as an option for during winter break. Create your LinkedIn account and start networking with professionals in your intended career field. This social media platform allows you to join groups with other professionals that have similar career interests as you, you can do an extensive amount of company research (find out everything from who was recently hired to how the company shows up in the news), and also job searching.

Here are some useful handouts and guides to help you get started:

If you are currently getting ready to look for an internship, check out Laura’s tips internship winter break to-dos.

We will be taking a break from updating our blog for the duration of Winter Break. We’ll be back in action towards the end of January. We will be tweeting throughout winter break, so you can follow us there for the latest news about the world of work and UW-Whitewater.

We will be closed on the following days:

  • Friday, December 24th (Holiday)
  • Monday, December 27th (Furlough)
  • Friday, December 31st (Holiday)

Photo by: Ellen Hatfield

What to Do During Winter Break?

This week and next, I’ll be providing you with some ideas of things to work on during winter break. These ideas are to help you get closer to finding that dream internship or job.

We have written previous blogs about ideas of to-do’s during a break period. Previous ideas included: volunteering, job shadowing, visit/research cities where you are hoping to live/work, informational interviewing, job/internship search, arrange for out-of-town/state interviews, work on resumes/cover letters, prepare a job search portfolio, buy your interview suit/outfit, and research employers/companies/organizations. Here are the links to the previous posts so that you find out more information about the list above.

I strongly encourage you to pursue some of the suggestions that we’ve made in prior blog posts. I also have a few new ideas to add to the list.

Bikes@Naz ... in Winter – Nazareth College, Rochester, NY

Learn a New Skill. While reading a recent article on the USA Today College website, I read about how to utilize winter break to learn a new (or develop further) computer skill. Look at programs that could be helpful for your future career. Programs such as Adobe Photoshop, Microsoft Excel, or Microsoft PowerPoint can be useful in upcoming classes and your future career. I have used Microsoft Excel in several of the jobs that I’ve held currently and in the past. It’s a great skill to have! If you are going into a field that frequently utilizes social media, use winter break to become familiar with LinkedIn, Twitter, and other social media platforms. Mashable is a great resource for beginners.

Solicit some help from your parents. Are you currently thinking, what? I am reading Lindsey Pollak’s book “Getting from College to Career: 90 things to do before you join the real world” and she had some great ideas of how parents can be helpful. She mentions that parents can be a great sounding board and source of support while you’re looking for a job or internship.

Her ideas of where parents could get be helpful include: reviewing assessments together, rehearsing for interviews, proofreading documents (such as resumes, cover letters, and personal statements), networking (they probably know a lot of people who know people who could possibly connect you with an informational interview, job shadow, or someone to look at your resume), and accountability (checking in with you periodically to make sure you’re sticking to your job/internship search plans).

Lindsey also highlights areas where parents should NEVER be involved. I completely agree with her! Those areas include: calling a recruiter or employer for any reason, attending a job interview or career fair with or for you, and sending out your resumes. You want to show employers that you’re independent and ready to join their company. Having mom and/or dad at your side while you’re interviewing will not send that message.

Stay tuned for next week when I introduce a few more new ideas of productive things you can do while you’re on winter break.

Photo by Nazareth College.