Ah, the holidays! Family time: board games, feasting with loved ones and a crackling fire in the living room.
Oops!– this is not a Hallmark movie so we will start over again:
Your student arrives home with a suitcase full of laundry that needs to be sorted and washed. After perfunctory hugs all around, they collapse onto their bed to catch up on a semester’s worth of sleep. Their plan for the break is roughly as follows:
Sleep. Social Media. See friends—(Curfew? What curfew?). Visit with family. Eat. Sleep some more. Repeat.
Your plan? Aside from the Hallmark memories that you hope to create, you want them to be productive. Relax and recharge, yes, but can you persuade them to also make a little progress towards future planning? Bring it! Here are a few quick and easy things they can do and STILL have a great break, we promise!
- For the student who is unsure of what they want to do, even if they are still debating their major, self-assessment is key. The CCPD offers career assessments to help with this.
- For those who have some degree of clarity, but need more information before choosing a career path, looking at career options should be a priority. A starting point can be our resource: What Can I Do with This Major?
- Informational interviewing is another wonderful tool for gathering data about jobs and careers. If your personal or professional network includes individuals who might be receptive to talking to your student, you can provide the introduction and let them do the rest. They can also find contacts if they are on LinkedIn and join the CCPD’s group specifically created to foster networking and information sharing: Eagle Connections, University of Mary Washington (Parents, please join, too!).
- Speaking of LinkedIn, break is a great time to create or update their account and do the same with their Handshake account.
- Hand-in-hand with these two online platforms is your son or daughter’s resume. Having their resume updated now means they will be ready to apply for summer internships and jobs…many of which have early deadlines! Here is the CCPD’s Resume Guide, and please encourage your student to have one of the CCPD staff review their finished product before they start sending it out. Pro tip: We are open as of January 6, 2020, so students can also send their resume to firstname.lastname@example.org if they want an email critique prior to the semester’s start!
This is just a sampling of a few things your student can do to make their winter break productive. We didn’t even have room to touch on job shadowing, volunteering, or graduate program research.
The CCPD is here to serve as a resource and partner as your daughter or son charts their course and we wish each of them, and you, all the best in 2020!
Mary Becelia, Career Coach, Center for Career and Professional Development (CCPD)