There’s nothing quite like endless papers to write and final exams to set you dreaming about winter break. That said, sleeping in late and lounging on the couch binge watching Netflix is not the best use of your time off. Nor is it likely to impress your parents.
Ramping up your job search over winter break will help you make the most of your senior year. Having a job lined up before graduation or better yet, by spring break, is the best way to really enjoy your final time on campus.
Here are 15 things to do on winter break to make the most of your senior year.
Explore professions that interest you.
1. Make a list of everyone you know. Ask your family, friends and relatives for suggestions of people you should meet. Use holiday parties to ask for career advice and introductions to others.
2. Schedule a few informational interviews. Take that networking list you made and put it to work. Intimidated by informational interviews? Check out my tips for overcoming your fear of networking.
3. Job shadow. Sometimes the idea of a job is a lot better than the actual job. Spend some time shadowing someone in s profession that appeals to you. Far better to figure out if a field is for you sooner, rather than later.
4. Research companies that you’d love to work for. Use LinkedIn to find alumni from your college or university who work there then reach out to them to see if they have fifteen minutes to speak with you.
5. Join a professional association. It’s a great way to meet leaders and influencers in your chosen field, particularly if they are hosting an event. Many associations offer discounted rates for college students and recent graduates and nearly every industry has an association. Interested in marketing? Check out The American Marketing Association. They offer a $50 annual membership for college students. HR? The National Human Resources Association also offers reduced cost student memberships.
6. Attend a networking event. There are many networking events geared toward young professionals such as NetworkafterWork and a host of others listed on Eventbrite. Grab a friend or two and go. Many events offer college students free or reduced admission while others combine beer and networking for the 21+ crowd.
Build your skills to make yourself a stronger candidate.
7. Add a new skill. Or improve an existing one that needs work. Take an online course in a subject that will help round out your skills. Ideas to consider are basic accounting, html or website design, blogging, or social media marketing. Check out HubSpot which offers free online certification courses. Can’t spell? It’s a job search killer but one that this life hack can help fix.
8. Volunteer. It’s a resume builder that also gets you in the spirit of the holidays. If you can, use skills you have that you’d like to build for your resume. Social media maven? Many non-profits can use your help building their online presence.
9. Find a spring internship. Adding another internship is a great way to build your resume and it might even lead to a job offer, thus tackling your post graduation job search at the same time.
Plan now so you hit the ground running once you are back from winter break.
10. Update your resume. Include key words from jobs that interest you to increase your odds of making it through applicant tracking systems. Reviewing your resume regularly and keeping it current is a great habit to build early in your career.
11. Refresh your LinkedIn profile. (Or create it if you don’t yet have one.) Your goal should be to get to “advanced” on your profile strength. Not sure how to do that? Contact me!
Target your search. Narrowing your focus will help you be more productive in your search. You can narrow by field, industry, geography or by targeting companies where you’d like to work.
12. Plan ahead. Research application deadlines then create a calendar for your job search, inputting key dates. Remember to back your deadline dates up so that you include time to tailor your resume and craft your killer cover letter.
13. Check out your career office’s spring calendar of events. Knowing what’s coming up can help you to plan, prepare and help you balance your schedule, making you more productive and less stressed.
14. Create your college “bucket list” before it’s too late. There’s no time like the present to take advantage of all that student life offers. That is, providing you graduate on time.
Even if you only get to a few of the items on this list, you’ll be making great use of your time off and will still have plenty of time to catch up on sleep. Better yet,you won’t be wondering what happened to your final semester in college (aka the best time of your life) because you might have a job lined up well before graduation.
Feeling stuck in your search? Remember you can contact me any time for a complimentary coaching call.