By Marian Li, Toppel Peer Advisor
You’ll soon be saying sayonara to the balmy Miami weather and saying hello to actual winter wherever you call home. While you’re on break over the holidays, it’s easy to get into a lazy mode where you sit around doing nothing with your days, letting them mesh into one long continual nap fest where the days lose their names. While there is some value in taking a breather and relaxing, there is only so much rest necessary and, to be fair, you have other, more important things to do. Make the most of every moment; you’ll be happy you did once you’re back into the swing of second semester!
Update your resume – Regardless of where you are in your job search, use this spare time to create or update your resume. Did you learn a new skill in any of your classes this semester? Consider adding your relevant coursework and updating your grade point average as well. Did you work last semester? Include any work experience and add versatile details. Also add any volunteer work you did, or if you were an active member of any clubs. Your resume is the key to applying for internships and jobs, so you want to keep it up to date and looking its best.
Find a short-term internship – Put your time off to good use with a short-term internship. Inquire about internship opportunities during break at your career center and by searching for internships the same way you would during the semester. If you aren’t seeing anything available, try and make your own internship opportunity. Spruce up your resume, research nearby companies you’d like to work with, and send them a standout e-mail detailing what you’re looking for and what you can offer them. Explain why you want to intern at that specific company during your break and why you’d be a good fit. If neither of the above works, get a head start on your spring semester or summer internship search. Start researching companies and keeping track of internship opportunities.
Shadow an employee in your desired field – If you can’t intern at a company, find out if you can shadow an employee for a period of time. Shadowing an employee is a nice way to get a glimpse into the career – what a typical day entails, what’s required of employees, and what the atmosphere is like. If you are certain of what you want to do, this is a fantastic opportunity to see what skills you could work on now to improve your job search. You can learn specific computer programs or other skills you see in use, and figure out which personal attributes are needed for the job. On the other hand, if you’re still not sure what career path is right for you, shadowing workers in a few different industries could be your chance to see what various jobs are like and help you make a better decision.
Volunteer – The holiday season is all about helping those less fortunate, so it’s a great time to volunteer. Besides giving back to your community, making a difference in people’s lives, and forming friendships with fellow volunteers, it’s a great way to build your resume and to gain experience for scholarship applications. You might also consider doing something that could add specific, valuable experience to your resume.
Apply for scholarships – If there ever was a time to apply, it’s now! You don’t have to spend the entire break applying for scholarships, but even if you devote a few hours to your scholarship applications, it’ll make a world of difference.
Ultimately, your break is yours. Take the time to relax and catch your breath! But don’t forget to remain productive; it’ll make it easier to transition back in the springtime. Until then, happy holidays!