Congratulations, you have completed the fall 2014 semester! You probably think it is the perfect time to kick back and enjoy the holidays. Well, yes and no. The holidays are also a great time to explore internship and job opportunities and much of this can happen without leaving the comfort of home or while visiting family and friends.

It is very tempting to come to a full stop and just relax over the break, but ignoring the internship and job market over the holidays can be a big mistake. December is a great time to reach out to perspective employers, former employers, and professionals who are knowledgeable about fields you wish to pursue. There is tremendous potential for career guidance or perhaps even hard leads. You might be on break, but most professionals are at work.

HR and career development specialists will know which workplaces are open and will typically be quieter, which is an ideal time to make that connection by phone, email or even setting up an in-person meeting. You’re not competing with the regular rush of business. Just remember that many people work half days during the holidays or may work from home.

Make the most of your holiday break by conducting informational interviews with professionals in a desired field; make in-person applications for summer internships; volunteer at an organization where you want to become known; send holiday messages to former teachers, supervisors, and other friends to tell them how you are progressing with your degree and seek their advice about how to use your summer; give your elevator pitch to family, friends, and even strangers at holiday parties; follow-up with employers you are already speaking with about jobs; and, build or enhance your LinkedIn account.

The Loyola break can pass very quickly and we certainly want you to get a break, but just know that finding a way to have equal amounts of relaxation, social time, and strategic career-related activities can be the best gift you give yourself this holiday season. Have fun, stay safe, and get a jump start on your summer plans.

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