After working hard all fall semester, you may want to curl up and spend your winter break sleeping late, playing video games, or hanging out with friends. But we’re encouraging you to resist the temptation to enter full-on hibernation mode. Your newfound free time is a great opportunity to think about the future and get a few steps ahead while you don’t have the weight of exams and term papers resting on your shoulders. Use this calendar to plot out some goals to meet before the spring semester sneaks up on you.
Update Your Resume with your most recent experiences and achievements and search online templates for ways to make it pop. “When you are seeking a job, internship or volunteer opportunity, there is nothing more important than having an attractive, well-written resume,” says White.
Build up your online profile. Take your freshly polished resume and post it on career search and networking websites, such as CareerBuilder, Monster, and LinkedIn
Make five new contacts. Ask family, friends, and professors for help expanding your professional network. “Begin gathering contact information [and] contact them by phone or e-mail,” White says. Don’t ask for a job, but request some of their time.
Get some counseling. January is actually a great time to meet with your career center as staff will likely have more time to spend with you, says Dr. Richard White, director of career services at Rutgers University-New Brunswick in New Jersey. “They can help you to develop a job search or graduate school action plan, provide employer contacts, and inform you of career-related events during the spring semester.”
Attend a career fair. Think one-stop shopping. At a career fair, you can browse a variety of recruiters and employers in the same location. Become a hunter-gather: track down companies of interest, learn more about potential employers, and walk away with even more contacts.
Complete a career assessment. If you haven’t zeroed in on what career path you want to take, an assessment can help with the decision-making process.
Apply for Internships. Once spring semester is in full swing, you’ll probably be too focused on studies to give internship applications the attention they deserve. Start searching and applying now.
Let someone else do the bragging for you. Talk to your professors, academic advisers, or past employers and see if they’re willing to write letters of recommendation or be contacted as a reference.
Send out applications for fulltime jobs. Calling all seniors. Begin sending out resumes, line up a few interviews for spring and you might score a job before graduation day.
This article is from the winter 2010 issue of Jungle Campus.