It feels like an eternity since I’ve been on here. My apologies for the hiatus. Before I knew it the end of the term with finals, presentations, papers and a knee surgery came faster than I expected!
I am cherishing this winter break because it will be the last month-long break I will have for quite some time. As college students we tend to forget that in the “real world” we will not get these long holiday breaks. I intend to spend every minute of it wisely.
Speaking of spending the time wisely, as public relations professionals in training we cannot afford to take a complete mental pause during winter break. Don’t get me wrong, I will certainly be using a fair share of the time to relax, spend time with my family and scarf down delicious holiday foods. However, with as much time as we have over winter break, we should be using some of it to work on prepping for job/internship hunting (it will come faster than you think) and building our personal brands.
I’ve created a list of worthwhile tasks to work on over the break. Trust me, you will thank yourself later for doing this while you had time free of assignments and school activities. Let’s get started:
Revamp your resume
This is something that is going to continue to be on every to-do list throughout your career, but right now is an excellent time to really dive in and edit. Update any positions or responsibilities you have added since you last edited, play around with formatting and make sure there are no grammatical errors.
Update your LinkedIn profile
This should always be connected with updating your resume. When you update your resume you should always do the same to your LinkedIn profile. In addition to any changes you make, you should also take this time to make more connections, research companies you might want to work for and participate in groups you are interested in.
Work on your online portfolio
If you haven’t created your online portfolio yet, this free time is perfect for doing so. If you have made one, take this time to really evaluate each piece you chose to include. Think about the skills reflected in these pieces and your personal story you are communicating. Your online portfolio represents your personal brand; make it interesting and impressive.
Go to informational interviews
Informational interviews would have had to be set up in advance. If you did make appointments with some professionals, make sure you have done your research and have questions prepared ahead of time. If you didn’t set up any informational interviews for the break, now is a great time to seek out professionals to have informational interviews with in the future. Create a spreadsheet with contact info and notes to use when you are ready to reach out to them.
Just because there is a break from school doesn’t mean your social platforms should be collecting dust. Stay connected, post thoughtfully and create conversation. You should also make sure your accounts are professional and represent your personal brand.
Begin to look at jobs/internships
I believe it is never too early to start researching for future jobs/internships. Right now is a great time to start looking at the job descriptions of entry-level positions and evaluating what you need to do to reach those goals. Spend a good amount of time looking at different companies or firms, positions you might want or professionals you look up to during the break. You might even consider creating a spreadsheet for job/internship hunting in the future!
Read and write
Having free time means having the time to read and write for enjoyment. Don’t take this for granted! Pick up a book or two you’ve been eyeing for the past few months and write about something that isn’t related to a school assignment.
I hope you have both a relaxing and productive winter break. Happy holidays!