It’s Winter Vacay: 5 Steps to Advance Your Career During the Break

Take the time off to get a leg up in the job market

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Final exams are over and many college students are back at home spending some well deserved time with their families. Unfortunately, a lot of students view vacations from school as an opportunity to socialize, hangout, and get caught up on some sleep. However, if you want to increase your chances of finding a job after graduation, you have to cultivate an outstanding work ethic that will set you apart from your competition. To this end, it’s vital that you take full advantage of your winter break.

To fully benefit from your vacation, you must come up with a winter break game plan that will keep you on track with your socialization AND career goals. With the help of parents (or mentors), you should devise a quick plan that will help you achieve these goals.

Below are the strategies I used during my breaks when I was a college student. These strategies helped me stay polished professionally while my peers spent all of their time socializing.

  • Take an assessment of last semester and prepare for the spring semester: Think about what worked well for you last semester in terms of your overall college experience. You also need to review your course schedule and commitment to other activities for the upcoming semester.

Ask yourself: What can I do to improve my grades? What can I do to gain more professional experience and exposure? How can I do a better job at balancing my time while I’m trying to simultaneously grow as a student and professional without being stressed out?

  • Meet with your mentors and biggest supporters: This is the perfect time for you to grow some of the relationships you have within your professional support network. Meet with them for coffee, go out to lunch with them, or just give them a quick call to update them on your college progress. They will appreciate hearing about your latest experiences.
  • Look for internships: Although some internship application deadlines have passed, there are still many opportunities out there for you. Internships are the No. 1 way to get your foot in the door with a company while gaining some excellent professional experience.
  • Volunteer in your community: Local communities love to see their young residents active.  You can even put your volunteer experience on your resume. To volunteer, all it takes are a few hours on one day during your break. Go out and make a difference.
  • Link up with your family and friends for some fun: Do something fun with your family and friends so you can create some great winter break memories. You’ve worked hard all semester long—you deserve to have some fun!

Parents, this can be used as a time to bond and learn more about your child’s college experience. Share this article with them and help them develop a great winter break game plan.

Antoine Moss, Ph.D., (@2PositiveTweets) is a nationally recognized resource on internships, early career achievement, leadership and motivation. CEO and founder of CEO Style Consulting L.L.C., Moss empowers professionals and organizations to reach their full potential, and serves as speaker, workshop instructor and consultant. The author of Learn to Intern CEO Style, Moss has been a featured expert on outlets including Fox 8 TV News and George Fraser’s 2011 Power Networking Conference.

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