Professional Confessional

A blog providing tips and resources for life after college

Your Winter Break To-Do List – Part 1

Fall semester classes completed. Check. Exams done. Check. Now that you have checked those items off your list, you can focus your attention and energy towards taking small steps in the career development process. You have one month before classes begin for the spring semester. Use this time not only to reflect upon the last semester (as mentioned in last week’s post), but to create or update professional documents (e.g. your resume), and research and explore majors or career interests.

Depending upon where you are in the process, you may want to either start with creating or updating your resume, researching careers, or conducting informational interviews. Select 2-3 things to complete while on winter break. If you haven’t started the career development process, here are some action items to help get you started:

1) Create or update your DeaconSource profile. Create or update your DeaconSource profile to reflect your current career interests and GPA. By selecting up to three different interests (e.g. Consulting, Government, Legal, Non-Profit, Research, Marketing/Sales/PR/Advertising), you will receive personalized email announcements tailored to those interests. These emails are increasingly important now that organizations will begin recruiting for summer interns after the break and throughout the spring semester.

2) Update your resume. First years and sophomores, transform your high school resume into a collegiate resume. Use these resume samples to make the transformation. Juniors and seniors, add and update your collegiate experiences with student organizations (e.g. leadership positions), research, internships, and volunteer opportunities. If you are tailoring your resume for a specific job or internship, be sure to keep your experiences relevant to that position and company. If you don’t have experience, make a plan to intentionally seek out opportunities to develop skills and knowledge in the spring semester and beyond. When you return from winter break, bring your updated resume into the OPCD during resume review hours before sharing it with networking contacts and potential employers.

3) Create or update your LinkedIn profile.  After you update your resume, create or review your LinkedIn profile.  Be sure you update your profile to be consistent with your resume. If you have not created a profile, please review the sample profile. LinkedIn is a great way to network with Wake Forest alums through informational interviews. Also, the OPCD offers LinkedIn photo booth – a place to get a more professional photo taken of you rather than using the cropped picture of you with your friends. Have your profile reviewed during resume review hours.

4) Explore majors. If you are still not decided on a major, don’t fret. Use the holiday break to explore your choices. Reflect upon the courses you took and activities you participated in last semester. Which classes have you most enjoyed and why? Which classes have you performed best in and why? Which classes and majors in the course bulletin do you find most interesting and why? For more clarity, take an assessment to determine your strengths and characteristics. The results may help clarify and confirm crucial decisions like selecting classes, majors, summer options and career interests.

5) Explore careers. When thinking about your future career options, you need to learn more about the career fields that interest you. Use the winter break to research different careers. The OPCD offers information on 26 different career fields complete with industry overviews, positions types and helpful resources. Dig deeper into the careers to learn more about what a day in the life of a certain profession looks like and what the responsibilities entail. Use these helpful career exploration sites to explore and research your interests. One of the best ways to learn about a career is to speak with an alumnus who is currently in the field.

Check back next week for tips on informational interviewing, job shadowing, and more for your winter break to-do list.

Category: Professional Development

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