Have you ever thought about how you can maximize your time over winter break? Of course after finals all one wants to do is relax and sleep, but having a month off of school may be the best time to start addressing those holes in your resume.

Since winter break does not offer much time to do a full internship, you may think there is not much you can accomplish in terms of career development. One thing you can do to invest in your future is network! Don’t think you have a network?  Sure you do…family, friends, faculty and alumni are all a part of your network.  Leverage them to identify existing connections to potential employers and ask your contacts to make introductions. Consider a short-term internship, job shadowing, informational interviewing or volunteering.  Another way to leverage your network is to conduct informational interviews.  Whether you interview an employer via phone or in person, investing this time into your career search will increase your chance of finding a quality opportunity in the industry of your choice.

With this in mind you should take these steps in maximizing your winter break.

  1. Determine what type of opportunity you would like to pursue.  Are you interested in working in a business environment doing advertising, marketing, public relations, etc? Or do you want to get experience working in a theater, a museum, or a gallery? Maybe you are interested in the science and environmental side of things?
  2. Look at your network. Who do you know that has contacts in your chosen industry? Does a family member, friend or professional contact know someone who would make a great mentor for you?
  3. Spend some time developing your LinkedIn profile and adding contacts.  Follow companies; join groups.  See if you or one of your contacts has a direct connection at a company or organization you would like to explore.  If one of your contacts has a connection to someone at a company or organization that interests you, ask them to make an introduction.
  4. Call that person at your company or organization of interest. Let them know you are a student and are looking to gain professional knowledge over your winter break. Mention the person who referred you. This is when the people in your network come in handy.
  5. Before sending your resume and cover letter to the employer have the documents reviewed by a career coach in the Career Development Center. They can help you develop your professional materials for the specific opportunity.

With these five easy steps you can identify a career development opportunity during your winter break, add more experience to your resume where it is needed, and add valuable contacts to your network.

One Response to 5 Steps for Networking Over Winter Break

  1. Ashley Stevens says:

    Fabulous advice, Kim! It’s a big world with tough competition. The Brookings Institute found that for every job in the U.S., there are five job seekers. With these five tips, your chances of defying those odds are definitely greater. I might also offer an additional comment on #3: Follow up with old or out-of-touch networks, and make a point to tell them your career or
    “next move” goals. As an unpaid intern in a viciously competitive city, this extra step has been hugely important and well-worth the time.

    Good luck to job searchers, all of us!