Making the Most of Your Winter Break
By: Pat Donahue
Once your final exams are over, you will want to take time to relax and enjoy the holiday season with family and friends.
And it should surprise no one that I’m also advocating that you take time over winter break to jumpstart your career planning.
Even with Covid-19 and its many restrictions, you can get started on these three career goals:
Update your resume: IU’s virtual career and internship fairs start in February and extend into April. The fairs include opportunities that are full-time, part-time, internships, summer camps, and summer jobs. For a list of IU Career Fairs, go to your Handshake account to find the list of fairs. Because the fairs are virtual, you will need to register for the fairs.
All the employers have one thing in common: they want you to submit a professional resume. Set up a meeting with your career coach to have your resume critiqued. Your career coach can also teach you about interviewing. For information about resume writing, go to: CDC Resume Guide. For information on interviewing, go to our CDC Interviewing Guide.
Informational interviewing: Would you buy a car before test driving it? Then why start a career without learning more about it? One of the best ways to learn about a career is to talk to professionals in the occupations you are considering. Instead of you being interviewed, you are interviewing them.
Indiana University has thousands of alumni who are willing to talk about their careers. Your career coach can also give you guidance on virtual informational interviewing. For details on informational interviewing and a list of questions to ask alumni or volunteers, go to the CDC Informational Interview Guide.
Networking: It may sound cheesy, but once you determine the type of career and industry you want to pursue, your next step should be building the team of people (your network) who will help you find an internship, summer job, or full time job in that career field. Your career coach, along with professors, family, friends, coaches, and neighbors will be on your team, but you also should consider IU alumni.
IU has the second largest active alumni in the U.S. and you can access them at Alumni Directory (myiu.org) Access to the directory is free and you simply need to create an account. Networking events are also held across campus by career services offices, so be sure and attend events like career fairs, career expos, and career panels that include speakers from a particular industry. LinkedIn is also another great resource for professional networking, so if you have not set up an account, go to LinkedIn for Students.
Be sure and let everyone on your interview team know what type of position you are seeking. You never know who will know someone that can help you land an internship or job. When I moved to Los Angeles in 1987 to work in the entertainment industry, I started asking alumni and family friends who they knew, and three months and 22 networking lunches later, I was offered a job as a production assistant on a new TV show called Coach.
If you take time over the winter break to conduct informational interviews, form your networking team, and update your resume, you will be better career prepared when you come back to campus in February.