Congratulations; you are almost finished with the fall semester and headed toward 2021! While you may want to spend this break scrolling through TikTok, binge watching Netflix and taking that well-deserved time-off to rejuvenate from this past semester, you might start to get a little restless. With almost two months of time away from “The Mack” and studying for classes still far on the horizon, now is the time to make your career development a priority at your own pace. Below are 10 tips for making your winter break productive and worthwhile:
1. Take a winter session class.
Check out Merrimack’s winter intersession classes and explore a new subject area, accelerate completion of degree requirements or lighten your spring and fall course load. With small class sizes that offer more personal attention, Merrimack College winter session helps you pursue your academic goals and intellectual interests. Most classes start January 4th, so you still have plenty of time to register. Browse course offerings here.
Two months can feel like forever or vanish in a blink of an eye; don’t let it pass you by! You can still search for a winter break internship, adding genuine experience to your resume and setting you up for success later on down the line. Since winter internships are not as plentiful as positions in the fall, spring and summer, reaching out directly to companies to introduce yourself and inquire about opportunities is a great avenue to pursue.
3. Update your resume.
With your fall internship wrapping up and a full load of courses completed, you certainly have new skills and experiences to add to your resume. Click here to take advantage of our 7 step process for resume success. New resume, new me (that’s how the saying goes, right?)
4. Begin or continue your search for summer internships.
Just like how March to December felt like a thousand years ago, but also like yesterday, the summer months will be here before you know it. Summer internships are bread-and-butter ways to gain the experience you need, with many of them being remote and/or paid. Start looking and applying for positions of interest on Handshake, Indeed and LinkedIn.
5. Be open to different and new experiences, knowing that you may not land your dream internship or job right now.
We know, COVID. Just because we are in a pandemic doesn’t mean prioritizing your career should stop. Consider doing a paid micro-internship via Parker Dewey to develop your skills and resume. Inquire about research with Merrimack faculty by perusing faculty bios on the Merrimack website and reaching out to those you are interested in. No experience is a bad experience, especially when it’ll help you to your end goal: a satisfying and fulfilling career.
6. Network, network, network!
And louder for the people in the back! Networking is one of the easiest ways to build your connections and learn more about the working world this winter break. Build and update your LinkedIn profile, watch the Rock your Profile course on LinkedIn Learning for tips, and start connecting with your fellow peers, Merrimack alumni, and industry professionals. Informational interviewing is key to meeting others and finding out what you need to succeed in the industry you’re hoping to pursue.
7. Learn new skills.
Didn’t gain a skill you were hoping to during class this past semester? Did you conduct an informational interview and found out you need a certain technical or core skill to “make it” in industry? This winter recess is a perfect time to develop and showcase those skills on your resume. Use your LinkedIn Learning account to identify, learn and showcase new skills to employers in your career field. Having trouble accessing LinkedIn Learning? Email firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.
8. Create an online portfolio.
Have hands-on project based experiences from class, previous internships, or independent projects? If you have time to spare, build an online portfolio of your work to showcase to employers. This article shows you how to get started. And hint: you can still make a portfolio, even if your previous projects don’t have any visuals!
9. Register for OBR1050: Foundations for Career Exploration & Development.
Liked what you read but still don’t think you have the time this break? Feeling like you should make career development a priority, but need someone to hold you accountable to it? Then consider registering for our 1-credit course, OBR1050 this spring! We have 6 sections available, with a mix of hybrid and fully remote options. Have questions? Read more on our frequently asked questions page about the course and register today on MyMack.
10. Follow the O’Brien Center on social media.
While we all are hoping for the much needed break, don’t let this time go to waste. We can’t wait to see all you accomplish and check back on your progress when we return for the spring semester.