K’s Winter Break is long, right? What can you do during this time? Here are a few ideas:
1) Reflect on who you want to be after graduation.Stepping away from the busy pace of campus life offers you a valuable opportunity to think deeply about your personal and professional goals. Go for a walk and allow yourself to imagine your life in five or ten years. Sit with a trusted friend or family member and talk together about your hopes and dreams for your lives.
2) Work on your LinkedIn profile. Make sure you’ve included recent internship and employment experience, as well as relevant educational achievements and accomplishments. You might ask for help from a photography buff who could provide you with a professional-looking headshot. Consider adding new entries in the Skills section of your profile and joining a professional association in your field of interest.
3) Explore Kalamazoo College Alumni on the College’s Alumni Directory and/or LinkedIn. Find K grads who have relevant experience to answer career-related questions. Schedule a call and chat with them.
4) Check out potential summer opportunities. The CCPD’s postings database on Handshake is constantly updated with new internships by employers seeking K student applicants. Most large companies have their own internship programs, some with fall/winter deadlines. Look online for interesting opportunities, and if your heart is set on an organization that doesn’t list internships, don’t be afraid to contact a human resources representative there to ask if you might set something up.
5) Network through informational interviews in your hometown. Want to find out more about careers in a particular industry? Most professionals are happy to be asked to talk about their work and their career path. Ask to schedule a short informational interview with alumni professionals in your area, or use your network of family and friends to help identify potential interviewees. And remember to send a thank-you note afterwards!
6) Polish your resume.The resume resources available on our website offer tips and tools for updating and refining your all-important job-search documents. You might take your resume along to an information interview and ask for feedback from the professional you are interviewing.
7) Practice your elevator pitch. Sometimes you only have 30 seconds to tell a potential employer what makes you stand out. Think about your desired career path and what you’d bring to it, and rehearse your self-introduction until it’s polished and convincing.
8) Figure out what “professional dress” looks like in your intended industry. Sooner or later you’ll need to dress to impress a potential employer or graduate recruiter. Invite someone whose opinion you trust to help you find a suit that fits well and conveys your serious intentions. The CCPD website has suggestions for how to find a suit that fits your budget. Is a suit not required for your intended area of interest? Figure out what will work best by connecting with a K grad in the “real world” and feel confident at future interviews.
9) Arrange a job shadow. Arrange a job shadow with a K grad to learn more about their day-to-day work life. CCPD staff are around over break to help you find and make these connections.
10) Build your skills. In addition to the critical thinking, communication, intercultural and problem solving skills you’re acquiring as part of your K-Plan, there are other transferable skills you may want to hone during break.
Remember: Take a break! Spend time relaxing and celebrating with family and friends. After giving your all throughout Fall Term, you deserve it.