Winter Break Workout – Career Edition

Attention Graduating Students! Use the winter break to position yourself as strongly as possible, in your pursuit of a new job or graduate school. Whether your plans are set or not, this four to five-week hiatus is an excellent time to develop or hone skills that will be useful after graduation, and you can highlight them on your résumé and your LinkedIn profile too. Below are some ideas to get you started, and I encourage you to think of others particular to your unique circumstances.

Professional Document Refresher and/or a Career Coaching Appointment

Use as side bar for blogTake this time to revisit and update your résumé, portfolio, website, LinkedIn Profile, etc. and have them ready for your next adventure. The career coaching team will be available over winter break to meet with you and discuss your options or ideas. Together, we can strategize what to emphasize and how to promote yourself as the best choice for your next opportunity. Make an appointment through Handshake.

Husky Mentor Network and Informational Interviews

Meeting alumni who work in a job or industry you want to pursue, went to a graduate school you are considering, or studied the same major, can offer insight into the world you seek to enter. One of the best and easiest ways to meet some alumni is through the Husky Mentor Network, an online system designed to match you with others who can offer advice and tips. These individuals have agreed to help students and other alumni by having career conversations, offering résumé critiques, practicing interviews, and any number of other career-related topics.

Micro & Virtual Internships and the Job Search

Look in Handshake and/or other job boards for short term projects, internships, and similar post-graduate opportunities, as well as thousands of full-time positions. Companies in the US and beyond are offering opportunities to work remotely, ranging from a few weeks to a few months. Take advantage of this unusual situation to find a role suited for your skillset and that benefits the business as well.

Career Communities

Career CommunitiesCertain majors seem to lead directly to a specific job or career, while others emphasize a broader approach, setting you up for success in multiple occupations. No matter which path you’re on, you will find the career center’s Career Communities full of valuable content designed for your career direction. There are distinct groups that demonstrate how one’s major, interests, and skills align for a number of different job possibilities, both for those who are still exploring and those who have already decided.

Practice Interviews

Interviewing is one of those experiences that excites some and causes anxiety for others. Regardless of how you think about them, the Center for Career Development has an excellent tool at your fingertips that allows you to practice and perfect your answers for those important conversations. Using Big Interview, you can select questions from a pool of options, revisit as often as you like, and even share your results with others, including UConn’s career coaches, for feedback.

Spreadsheet Analysis

Google vs. MicrosoftMastering MS Excel and/or Google Sheets is a necessity for many industries beyond those in data analytics, so understanding more than the initial concepts is an absolute plus. You can learn them on your own, through LinkedIn Learning, Kahn Academy, or even through companies offering online training workshops available to college students. Once you master these, consider getting certified from Microsoft or Google.

Creative Pursuits & Entrepreneurship

For some, the traditional pursuit of a job or career is not as appealing as the idea of starting one’s own business. The resources cited above can also be useful for going out on your own. Use the break to think about a hobby or hidden talent, to see if it can translate to a part-time gig or even a full-time career.

Google vs Microsoft image courtesy of the Allen School.

By Beth E Settje
Beth E Settje Associate Director, Experiential Learning & College to Career Transitions | Pronouns: She/Her