15 Career “To Dos” to accomplishment over winter break

You’ve worked hard this semester and winter break is within sight. It’s obviously a time to regroup and relax before gearing up the spring semester’s arrival.

The semester break is also a great time to accomplish some items that might be – or should be – on your “career to do” list. Find some time before returning to school in January to check these items off your list.

Volunteer. In the spirit of the giving season take a day to give back to your community. The personal fulfillment is an eye opener. Additionally volunteering serves well in the job search.

Practice an answer to the question “Can you tell me about yourself?” This is the opening question at practically every job interview, career fair interaction, informational meeting and so many other career-related interactions. A well-crafted elevator speech can help you get started.

Explore career information sites. Now’s the time to research those career and academic major websites you’ve wanted to visit but didn’t have the time to because of class work.

Complete an informational interview. Talk to someone working in a career path that’s of interest to you. Ask questions to help you better understand the nature of the job.

Shadow someone in a profession of interest. In addition to talking to someone in your profession of interest, why not spend a few hours in their shoes?

Check out job postings in your career field. Whether you’re just exploring career fields or soon to be entering your chosen profession, start browsing job openings to know what employers are seeking in their new hires.  

Begin or polish your resume. The Career Services Career Guide can help. Email your resume draft to Career Services in January or schedule a resume appointment to receive feedback.  

Write a sample cover letter. Job seekers understandably focus on perfecting the resume, but you can’t forget about the cover letter. Check out the Career Guide’s guidelines and cover letter samples.   

Identify your professional weaknesses – and ways to improve them. No one is perfect. Employers will ask you what areas of improvement you have and what you’re doing to improve them.

Do some soul searching about your academic and career plans. Are your original career and academic goals still in line with your current interests and skills?

Clean up your social media sites. Make sure your online presence is one that you’d feel comfortable with potential employers and future coworkers seeing.  

Create or update your LinkedIn account.  LinkedIn is the #1 professional social media site. Not having an account means you’re missing out on prime networking and career activities related to your industry.

Set up an EmploymeNC account. This is the online job board and career resource for CPCC students and alumni. Take time to establish your account now so you can actively start using it during the spring semester.

Establish your reference list. Who will serve as your references in your upcoming job search? Assemble a list of 3-4 professional people now who will help you sell your skills to employers.  

Begin building your professional wardrobe (including accessories). Take advantage of post-holiday sales to start purchasing clothing and accessories you’ll need for your interviews and role as the new hire.