College Students, Use Your Winter Break Wisely

Winter break is the perfect time to catch up with friends and family members that you have perhaps been away from or neglected during the busy school year. But those of you who are nearing graduation, even if it’s not for another year or so, should also use this time to prepare for your upcoming entrance into the working world. And let’s be honest, how much time do you really want to spend with your relatives anyway?

Here is a list of things you can do over the break to put yourself in a better position before you graduate. You might even want to check it twice…

1. Update Your Social Media Persona – The dirty jokes and pictures of out-of-control parties were fun to share with your friends on Twitter and Facebook, but they may be enough to turn off a prospective employer. And yes, employers do check social media when considering applicants. So it’s time to make yourself look like a responsible adult.

Speaking of being a responsible adult, do you have a LinkedIn page? If not, create one. According to Danielle Wilder, Legion Logistics’ Chief Headhunter, “We get concerned if [applicants] don’t have a LinkedIn page. It makes us question how well they would be able to network in a sales environment. It also makes us wonder how serious they are about job searching in general since LinkedIn can provide so many avenues for the unemployed.” If you already have a page, it’s time to start using it. Make sure all of your information is current and use the summary section to let potential employers know what type of position you are looking for. LinkedIn is also great place to network with college alumni and others who may be able to introduce you to your future employer.

2. Create a List of Target Companies – If you’re close to graduating, you hopefully have an idea of what type of career you want to pursue. You may even know where you would like to live. Use this information to search for potential employers online, then research the company further in regards to its culture, profitability, possible contacts, and positions available. This is also a good time to put together a list of company-centric questions for future interviews.

3. Take a Peek – If a company you are interested in is within travelling distance and you have a connection there, see if you can go visit. Many companies are often slow at the end of the year, so a contact may be more willing to give you a tour and introduce you to others now than during their busier seasons.

4. Go Ahead, Use Your Relatives and Friends – You have to hang out with them anyway, so talk to your relatives, your friends’ relatives, and those people your parents invited to their holiday party.  See if any of them might be a contact or might know a contact that can help you become employed. I went to a neighbor’s Christmas party whom I had never met and ended up with my current job a few weeks later. You just never know who might be looking for someone just like you.

5. Update and Review Your Resume – This one is pretty much a no-brainer, but it seems like it has to be on every career search list.

So enjoy your holiday season, but don’t waste it. And if you’re interested in a challenging, lucrative job that changes daily, take Veteran Headhunter Jason Leonard’s advice: “They should call me!”

Happy Holidays!