Now that winter break is here, you have time to tackle the career planning to-dos that took a back seat to studying and attending class this past semester. Check out the following 11 items you can tend to before the spring semester starts in January.
1. Update your resume (or start one). Check out the Career Services Career Guide for many resume tips and samples.
2. Practice writing a cover letter. Cover letters are still part of the job application process. The Career Guide also provides step-by-step instructions for writing a cover letter, as well as samples.
3. Clean up your social media presence. If you don’t think employers check out your social media presence, think again. Take time to review the image you’re presenting through your social media outlets. Ask yourself if you’d want a prospective employer to view it.
4. View the Career Services LinkedIn video and develop your LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn is the go-to social media site for professional development, job searching and networking. The first step is creating a top-notch profile. The Career Services LinkedIn video provides easy-to-follow instructions for developing your LinkedIn profile and starting to use this important social media tool.
5. Join the Career Services Linked In group. Once you’re a member of LinkedIn, join the Career Services LinkedIn group, where you’ll have the chance to engage in career-related dialogue with Career Services staff, employers and other students.
6. Purchase interviewing attire. Take advantage of after-Christmas sales, put those gift cards to good use and buy a suit for upcoming job fairs and interviews.
7. Register for employmeNC. Access this online job database for CPCC students and alums through the Career Services website. Employers actively seeking CPCC students and alumni applicants post full-time and part-time jobs. Uploading your resume is the first required step to utilize employmeNC (see tip #1 above!)
8. Create your elevator speech and practice it. If you’re attending a holiday party, standing at the bus stop or waiting in line at the store- and you meet someone working in your industry, what would you want that person to professionally know about you? The elevator speech is the chance to convey your skills and background. Use the Career Guide elevator speech exercise to help you write your elevator speech, and then practice it in front of a mirror or with friends and family.
9. Start telling people what field you’re interested in. Networking is how you access the hidden job market, which is where many job opportunities exist. People can’t know what industry you want to work in unless you tell them.
10. Clarify your career goals if you don’t yet know them. If you’re unsure of your career plans after graduation, it’s time to start researching. Career exploration websites can help. Additionally, consider meeting with a career counselor next semester.
11. Examine situations that may make your job search unique. Some job applicants have conditions that may play a part in their job search. Ex-offenders, persons with disabilities and international students could be examples. If your job search requires you to consider any circumstances, look through career-related resources for assistance. A career counselor can also help you develop a job search and interview plan that proactively addresses any concerns that you might have.
Happy Holidays from the CPCC Career Services staff. We look forward to working with you in 2014.