The first semester’s over. You’ve worked hard throughout the fall to keep your grades up as you work towards your degree. Good for you!
Now that winter break is here, you might be tempted to plop down on the couch and veg-out for a couple weeks binge-watching your favorite shows. Big mistake. Sure, there’s nothing wrong with taking it easy for a little bit and giving your brain a much-deserved break. But you also don’t want to waste this valuable time when you can take some small but important steps that can help you as you continue to prepare for your career.
Update Your Résumé
Your résumé is something you need to be constantly working on and building beginning in high school, not just after you graduate college. Find a quiet room in your house or head to your local coffee shop. Think back to the beginning of this past semester. What new skills and experiences can you add to your résumé and LinkedIn profile? Did you join any groups or clubs? Did you do any volunteering? Did you have a campus job? Anything you can add that will show you’re gaining new skills and experiences will go a long way in building a résumé that will grab employers’ attention come job-searching time.
Network, Network, Network!
There’s an old saying, “It’s not what you know; it’s who you know.” Today, when it comes to finding a good job, this axiom is as true as it ever was. Of course, you don’t want to wait until after college to start building your network. The earlier you begin to build your connections, the more you’ll have to leverage when you’re looking for your first job. Think of some people you might want to sit down and talk with. Ask your friends, family members, and former teachers for suggestions, and then ask if they’ll introduce you. After that, all you have to do is invite the person out for a cup of coffee and ask for any advice they can give to someone like you who’s still in school. Just be sure to let them know how grateful you are for their time and knowledge.
Get Some Hands-On Experience
Depending on how long of a break you have, you might want to consider getting a micro-internship or doing a little job-shadowing. Contact a company you’ve always wanted to work for and ask if there’s anyway you can help out for a couple days over break. Find someone who works in your desired career field and ask them if you can shadow them for a day or two so that you can get a better idea if it’s something you really want to do for a living. Any experience, even just a day or two, can be extremely valuable when you’re working towards building a successful career.
Other things you can do during this time off include cleaning up your social media accounts, creating a portfolio of your work, and even just catching up on some recommended reading that’s related to your career path. The key is making the most of this time so that you can continue to grow and learn as you work your way toward graduation and a fulfilling career. ~
And, of course, there’s nothing wrong with getting a little extra sleep, too. (Go ahead—you’ve earned it.)