by Kathleen Rause
Today I pulled myself out of the pile of rubble around me that consisted of library books, empty coffee cups, journal articles and draft after draft of term papers to the realization that winter break is almost here! I don’t know about the rest of you, but I am now busy making a list and checking it twice of all the things I want to do with my time off from work and school. Some of the highlights include sleep, eat, watch television, and sleep (I’m sure I could think of more interesting activities if I tried, but at this moment those sound pretty good to me!). But even though it is called “break” for a reason, I do have to add one important piece of business to my list: career planning.
So I have made a more serious list of career planning activities, and I thought I would share it with you. Other graduate students or undergraduates—either preparing for the job market or an internship search—may want to consider adding some of these to their own lists for winter break.
1. Dust off the resume. I need to create an updated version and share it with trusted friends, family and mentors for their feedback. Remember, if you show a resume to four different people you will get four different opinions – but it is great to get those different perspectives. Of course I will be asking for critiques from my colleagues at the Career Services office! You can do the same by emailing your resume in or making an appointment.
2. Research places for employment. For me this means researching potential higher education institutions I may want to work for next year. I will also look at open positions to get an idea of what is out there and what qualifications they are looking for. Whether your aim is a job or internship, it is important to know about the places you wish to work and the positions available – so do your research!
3. Set up informational interviews. Informational interviewing has been one of the most helpful tools I have used in my career. Consider arranging informational interviews over break or for when you are back in school to explore career fields, companies, industries and network with professionals. Check out this section of our website for more information.
4. Polish my “online profile”. This includes double-checking my Facebook profile to make sure it passes the grandmother test (if you don’t want your grandmother to see it, it probably shouldn’t be on your profile!), updating my LinkedIn profile and looking at Twitter as a professional networking tool.
5. Look for networking opportunities. I am going to identify other events that may be good opportunities to network in my field (higher education). One event is the NASPA annual conference. For any profession there is usually a student and/or professional group that has networking events, so look in to the ones that would pertain to your own career goals.
Whatever you end up doing on your winter break, safe travels and happy holidays to all!