Winter Break is a time to relax with family and friends after taking grueling semester exams.  However, it is also the ideal time to invest in your professional development.  Here are a few ways you can maximize your break:

1.     Prepare for our upcoming Career Fairs.

● Thursday, January 21, 2016 is the Spring Internship and Part-Time Job Fair from 12:00 pm- 2:30 pm in the St. Charles Room, 1st floor Danna Center.

Over 60 local employers will be on-campus recruiting for internship and part-time opportunities.  EVERYONE should attend this fair, even first and second year students. A sampling of companies registered to attend include: The Sherwin- Williams Company, Audubon Nature Institute, Harrah’s New Orleans, Northwestern Mutual, Story Block Media, and Isidore Newman School.

● Thursday, January 28, 2016 is the Spring Career Expo from 12:00 pm- 4:00 pm at the Mercedes- Benz Superdome.

Every year, the Association of New Orleans Career Services sponsors two of the largest collegiate career expos in Louisiana, one in the fall semester and one in the spring semester. This allows local and national employers the opportunity to recruit students from local area colleges and universities. This career fair is perfect for seniors or anyone searching for a summer internship.

Get prepared over Winter Break by:

● Researching employers attending. Make a list of employers you want to check out. You can find a list of employers attending the Spring Internship and Part-Time Job Fair and Spring Career Expo on Employola. After you log in, click on Career Fairs and Events and you will see a link that says View Employers.

● Preparing your resume. Depending on the field, update your resume with your most recent experience, activities, and leadership. Check out our resume handout here.

● Making sure you have professional attire. If not, after Christmas sales are the perfect opportunity to acquire some.

Because the Spring Career Expo is larger and more professional in nature, here are additional tips you can follow to maximize your day:

● Having a 30 Second “sales pitch” prepared. Include the following: your name, major, class year/ expected graduation date, career interest, and past work experience. For example- my name is Gretchen Fields. I am a junior majoring in Marketing. I graduate next spring with my BBA and I am interested in advertising. This past summer, I interned at New Orleans Magazine and loved it!

● Being prepared for questions employers may ask you and make a list of questions you want to ask. Questions employers may ask: Why are you interested in our organization? and Why do you think you will be successful in this field? Questions to Ask Employers: What are some of the typical duties an intern or first year employee would have at your organization? What characteristics does a successful employee have at your organization?

● Being mindful of your behavior. Make sure you maintain eye contact, smile, have a firm handshake, and a positive attitude!

● Following-up. It is important that you follow-up with the recruiters you spoke with after the fair. Follow-up by sending thank you notes via e-mail and applying online to all positions you are interested in.

2. Clean up your Social Media Accounts

● Now that you have some down time, it is a great time to clean up your social media accounts including FaceBook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

● It is also a great time to create a LinkedIn account if you have not already.

● Surprisingly, 93% of recruiters look up candidates online according to JobVite.

3. Create/Revise your Cover Letters and Resumes

● Winter Break is the perfect opportunity to update your resume and cover letter.

● Check out the Career Development Center’s handout on crafting a resume, here .

● Come see us next semester for feedback. Walk-in hours are Mondays and Thursdays from 2 pm to 4 pm.

4. Conduct an Informational Interview

● Informational interviews are informal conversations you have with professionals in fields that interest you. Informational interviewing allows you to ask questions about specific careers and what all it entails. Winter Break is a great time for informational interviews because you can start with family members who are in town for the holidays. For example, you are graduating in May with a major in finance and minor in accounting. Hit up Uncle Earl at the dinner table and ask him about his career as a financial advisor.

● You can also do informational interviewing with people you do not know. Call organizations where you are during Winter Break and ask HR whether you can set-up an informational interviewing session.

● Sample Questions to Ask: What are the pros and cons of your profession? Is additional schooling required? How competitive is the job-market? Is there a work-life balance? Why did you want to become a ___?

● After the interview, whether it be on the phone or in person, follow-up with a thank you note.

I hope you have an amazing, fun-filled, and relaxing Winter Break! Enjoy this vacation with family and friends, but make sure you also make an investment in yourself by preparing for your life after Loyola. Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

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