Top 10 Tips for Taking Advantage of Winter Break
Winter break is a great opportunity for you to spend a little extra time preparing your job search. Here are 10 things you can do to accelerate your search before returning to campus:
1. Polish your resume
Your resume is a marketing tool that paints a picture of your skills, abilities, and experiences to show employers or graduate schools you are a match for the position or program they have to offer. Your resume is the first impression they will have of you, so make sure it is a clear, concise summary of skills and relevant experiences.
Don’t forget to:
- Add activities and other experiences from the fall semester as well as any skills you gained
- Add relevant coursework
- Update your GPA
2. Explore Handshake
Handshake has exclusive jobs and internship opportunities just for Lions. Upload your resume and begin your search. Complete details on all upcoming workshops, events, and fairs can be found there, so take a look at what is coming up next semester.
3. Fine tune your interests and goals
Employers are seeking focused candidates. Interns and new hires must able to communicate their interests and skills in order for employers to understand the value you bring to the company.
Take advantage of winter break to do a bit of soul searching. What are your skills and interests? What is important to you?
Our assessment page contains resources available to help you figure out your future career. Winter break is a good time to take an assessment. Make an appointment to review the assessments with a Career Coach when you return to campus.
4. Create or update your LinkedIn profile
Did you know there are nearly 40,000 Lions on LinkedIn? Did you know that 80% of jobs and internships are never posted publically? Making connections with LMU alumni is critical to your job and internship search. LinkedIn is a great way to identify and connect with LMU alumni who share similar interests to you, and many are looking for mentoring opportunities to help open doors for current students.
5. Network and take advantage of your location
Take advantage of being away from campus to connect with LMU alums where ever you are. Start by talking with family and friends at events and social gatherings and follow up with those you are referred to by scheduling in-person meetings.
If you will be visiting a city in which you would like to work over the summer or after graduation, reach out to local organizations to let them know you will be in town. Try setting up a face-to-face meetings over the break. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by doing so.
Even if they are not available to meet with you, they will appreciate the initiative. In addition to making connections within your target organizations, check Handshake for internship and job listings and conduct career or industry-related research. Check out the Occupational Outlook Handbook or O*NET.
6. Job search and conduct informational interviews
Use some of your free time to learn more about a profession, industry, or company while expanding your network. Informational interviews and job shadows are an excellent way to refine your career goals and get advice on strategies for pursuing a particular job or career path.
Donating your time to an organization or cause you care about is a great way to use your free time over break and give back to your community. Volunteer experience can enhance your resume by demonstrating your well-roundedness and community investment to future employers.
8. Research opportunities
Many job and internship programs start accepting applications early in the year. Use your time over break to start thinking of what you might want to do with your summer and get a head start on applying. Develop or finalize your list of target organizations, research application processes for those organizations, and connect with LMU alumni or others in your network that work within those organizations.
9. Make a time management plan
Continue your career development next semester by organizing your classes, work schedule, and extracurricular to maximize your time and productivity. If you are graduating in the spring, consider budgeting time in your weekly schedule devoted to your career search.
10. Practice your Elevator Pitch
If you are graduating this year, you will likely hear the following question repeated by friends and family over the break: "So what are your plans for after graduation?" Use this opportunity to practice your Elevator Pitch - a short, well thought out response that articulates your goals, interests, and action plan for life after college. Practice tailoring your response to employers in different industries or locations.
Bonus. Holiday wish list
Consider adding some of the following items to your holiday wish list. These will help you look and feel professional and organized during the search process, and friends and relatives who are invested in your future will be excited to buy them for you:
- Professional leather portfolio. Great for storing resumes and notes during the internship or job interview
- Business card holder and gift card to order business cards
- Business attire (e.g. business suit, ties, nice socks)
Note: For many of you, appropriate interview attire will mean a business suit; for others, business casual is appropriate. While you're networking, ask what attire is typical for interviews in your field of interest.
Have a safe, productive and happy break! We can’t wait to see you return to campus in January!