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Finals week is winding down and Winter Break is within reach -cheers! It’s about that time of year in Missouri where you need five layers to leave the house and hot coffee is a must in the morning (if it’s not already a year-round necessity). Kudos to those reading from Arizona and California, I hope you can feel my envy from here.

With classes being out, you might choose to pickup more hours at your job, celebrate the holidays with friends and family, or eat as many festive cookies as possible within a month. All good options… BUT in addition to those we’ve thought of some pieces that would benefit you and your career without taking away from your break.

Update your resume.

Finding and landing an internship or career will take a couple steps, one of those being a strong, directed resume. Even for those not actively looking, take advantage of the extra time during breaks to update what you currently have, add new information, and look at experience gaps you might have that could be improved on in the upcoming semester.

Ask an alum to coffee.

Park University has alumni that are located worldwide and most likely somewhere near you. Take advantage of this built-in network to meet alums that are using their degrees and experience from Park to be successful in their careers. Asking them to coffee offers a no strings attached, relaxed conversation allowing you to dive into a candid chat and learn about their career path.

Need help finding nearby alumni? Start on the Park U LinkedIn page or visit with someone with the Alumni Association.

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Read The Passage.

There’s nothing wrong with a shameless plug, right? Most of the year you are inundated with emails and chapters to read, papers to write, and tests to study for, breaks are prime time for reading current and past content from The Passage – you don’t even have to leave your couch!

Schedule 1-2 Informational Interviews.

Informational Interviews are perfect for individuals wanting to find out more about companies in their industry and to narrow down their career path. Career Development works with employers in all industries and can help connect you with individuals that would be relevant for your needs.

Most people are eager to tell their stories – after all, don’t we all want to be the go-to experts in our industries? Reach out!

Spruce up LinkedIn.

Let’s start with one key factor, actually having a LinkedIn profile. Employers are going to jump online and look at your account, it is another opportunity to better understand the candidate they are considering.  Luckily, even if you are not necessarily tech-savvy, LinkedIn walks you through the steps of what to include on your profile. That’s step one.

Now that you have an account and are searchable on LinkedIn, use your extra time as an opportunity to add additional relevant information, a professional head-shot, and connect with individuals in your industry. Avoid these un-hirable offenses.

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Clean up social media.

Countless selfies, excessive alcohol, and aggressive rants.

DELETE, DELETE, DELETE.

Remove anything that can send a red-flag for employers perusing your Facebook and Instagram accounts. We recently just went through one very polarizing election, even choosing a side publicly on your social media can affect decisions.

Volunteer.

It’s the season of giving and there are countless opportunities to volunteer within your community.  There are some truly great organizations doing some truly great things. Plus, a one time volunteer opportunity can quickly turn into a long-term service that might be helpful on your resume.

Enjoy your break–to those graduating, congrats! To those returning, we will see you in January!