Typically, us college students are extremely busy with classes, working, being involved, and schoolwork that it seems like we don’t have any spare time. In adjusting to our new ‘normal’, I have found myself having free time that I just don’t know how to fill. I am sure many others are feeling this way, too, so I decided to come up with a few tasks you can do to productively spend your free time.
Complete your profile in GoldPASS powered by Handshake.
If you are unfamiliar, GoldPASS is the University of Minnesota system’s online platform for connecting students and employers. Students are able to search for jobs and internships, connect with employers and other students, as well as learn more about recruiting events going on across the system in GoldPASS. Having your profile updated and complete is important because it allows employers to find and reach out to you. See “The Three Must-Haves on Your Handshake Profile” to learn more about completing your profile. Additionally, I have written a two-part guide to using GoldPASS powered by Handshake (Part 1 & Part 2). Our Employer Relations team would be more than happy to help you with any GoldPASS related questions and can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Use this time to get ahead on researching companies.
This will help guide you in your future searches for an internship and/or a job after graduation. There are a few different resources that can help you research companies:
- GoldPASS powered by Handshake: Once your profile is complete, use GoldPASS powered by Handshake to see companies that have recruited at UMD in the past. In GoldPASS, you are able to see employers who have attended career fairs in the past by including past fairs in an event search. You can also search for jobs and internships on this platform. If you see a position that interests you, look further into that company to learn more about it.
- Internship Data: Many students at UMD participate in internships each year. We have compiled data from the past two years that shows where students of certain majors interned. Here is the 2017-2018 academic year internship data, and here is the data for the 2018-2019 academic year. Research these companies to learn more about the work that they do to see if it seems interesting to you.
- Graduate Follow-Up Report: The Graduate Follow-Up Report is an annual document our office creates to show where our students end up after graduation. It includes information on where students were employed after graduation, where students continued their education, and more. This information is so valuable!
- LinkedIn: LinkedIn is a platform that allows you to create a professional network, search for positions, and showcase yourself. By first creating your profile and completing it, you will be able to connect with professionals to begin networking. You will be able to connect with other students at UMD, as well as alumni, to see where they are currently employed.
- Google: While the remainder of the resources I listed were ways to see where other UMD students landed positions, don’t feel limited to only those companies. Conducting a Google search can be quite overwhelming, which is why I think it is best to start out by using some of the resources I listed previously. Take what you have learned from that research to Google to find even more companies that might interest you.
For example, say I, an accounting major, am researching the companies where previous accounting majors have interned. I am learning more about those organizations and find that the ones that most interest me are all public accounting firms. I take this knowledge to Google to find more public accounting firms, as well as to learn more about them in general. This method of learning more about companies and their industries can be applied to any major, too, not just accounting.
You can take your research to the next level, too. If you find a company you are really excited about, find a contact and reach out to them! Scheduling an informational interview, or just a time to chat with a representative of a company can be extremely beneficial in learning about the company, as well as opportunities within it. If you are looking for advice on how to contact companies, what to say, etc., our Career Handbook has some excellent information. Additionally, our career counselors would be more than happy to help. You can get in touch with them by emailing email@example.com or calling 218-726-7985 to schedule an appointment.
Practice your interview skills.
As a student at UMD, you have access to InterviewStream, which is a wonderful resource that allows you to do this. InterviewStream is a website that allows you to conduct practice interviews, record them, and watch them later. You are able to customize your interview by selecting questions that relate to the type of interview you want to practice. You can also record your practice interviews to watch later, which will help your future performance in interviews. This is an excellent way for you to practice interviewing without anything being on the line, so I highly recommend taking advantage of it.
Update your resume.
Using our Career Handbook, you can refine your resume or create one if you haven’t already. In our handbook, you will find a guide for creating resumes, example resumes, and more that will help you create your document. Once you’ve updated your resume, upload it to GoldPASS so that employers can view it. If you would like to have your resume reviewed, just following the submission instructions on our website.
I hope this inspires you and gives you a few ideas of how to fill your time. As always, the staff in Career & Internship Services is always available to answer any questions you might have, so don’t hesitate to reach out.
Photo Source: Unsplash | Plush Design Studio