Winter break is coming up in about two and a half weeks… Eek! Time is going fast but my list of things to do keeps getting longer and time is going a little too quick if you ask me. With finals and end of term project deadlines creeping closer and closer many of us are looking forward to a nice four week break to fill our schedules full of quality lazy time spent on the couch. However appealing a month long movie marathon might seem, perhaps mixing up your schedule between a few movies and some planning for your future career, could be the perfect balance. More specifically, I’m talking about using your winter break from school in order to accomplish tasks that you normally wouldn’t have time for during the school semester.
My winter break will be spent back working at the same location as my summer internship and gaining some more experience, but here are some ideas for making the most out of your winter break:
- Job Shadow– If you are interested in a particular field and want to learn more about a career than what can be found from researching on the internet, consider reaching out to a professional that you could job shadow over winter break. Professionals that are happily employed in their career field are usually more than willing to have a student to come into work with them for a day or two. This is a great opportunity to get a feel for a potential career and gain some of the best resources for career planning and other information about the career field.
- Network– Another great idea to build your contact lists is to start networking with professionals. Holiday parties can be a great way to do this over break because you never know who a family member, or family friend, might be connected to. Networking contacts are a great way to learn about inside jobs or opportunities that you wouldn’t have otherwise known about. If you want to go the extra mile, create professional business cards to hand out to your new networking contacts (or to your grandma to hang on the fridge)!
- Conduct an Informational Interview– If there is a professional who you look up to or just want to know more about consider asking them for an informational interview. An informational interview is also a great way to network and can provide you with a lot of useful information about a position or inner-workings of a company. When inviting a professional to an informational interview, ask if they would be able to meet at their office or perhaps at a local coffee shop. If you do schedule an informational interview, do come prepared! Research as much as you can about your interviewee and their company from what you can find from LinkedIn or the company website. If you aren’t confident in your LinkedIn skills, come to our LinkedIn/GoldPASS drop in hours from 2-4 on Thursday afternoons. Once you have a basic understanding of what they are about you can ask questions to fill in the blanks.
- Search for Opportunities– Your winter break time can also be used to search for jobs, internships, or graduate school opportunities. Take the ample amount of time you have during your four week vacation from school to type as many Google searches as you please. Also consult the Career & Internship Services webpage for online resources:
By all means I’m not suggesting that you cut out all TV and movie marathon time, but do use your time with purpose. The productive measures you take during this winter break will be very much appreciated when you don’t have to try to squeeze them in with your spring semester. For the next few weeks before break, I wish you luck, and then may you all have a well-deserved relaxing and productive break!