Ah… winter break. The perfect time to sleep, eat, watch TV and of course, work on your resumes and cover letters for the upcoming year. Whether you’re at home, on campus or traveling, here are some suggestions to keep you on track with your professional development while still having a good time.
1. Take a self-assessment. Know what your personality type is? Want to know what jobs best suit your personality? Contact the Career Center to gain access to “Do What You Are,” a professional self-assessment to better tailor your academic and professional goals.
2. Look for January work opportunities. While the Career Center doesn’t offer or sponsor winter internships, feel free to spend your month volunteering, shadowing and/or interning by finding opportunities on your own. Not sure how to get in contact with people or organizations? Look into whether organizations you’ve worked with in the past need temporary assistance, family friends may have something in their workplaces you could help with or check with organizations in your area that are interesting to you. They may just have a project that they could use a hand with.
3. Learn more about specific jobs to target your work experiences. Always wanted to be a lawyer but not sure what the job actually involves? Want to explore a position that you actually know little about? Check out Spotlight on Careers and Vault — both accessible through Quest — to learn about the day-to-day lives of working professionals. O*Net (www.onetonline.org) also provides detailed job descriptions to help you start planning the skills and experiences you’ll need to get that dream internship or job.
4. Improve your proficiency in computer programs. Want to spice up the skills section on your resume? Find out more about Excel, Photoshop, Flash and more by accessing www.lynda.com, an online library with high-quality instructional videos taught by industry experts. To get started, go to www.lynda.com and click “Login” in the upper right hand corner of the page. On the organization/school page, type in www.amherst.edu, then login with your college username and password.
5. Practice your interview techniques. What better time than winter break to work on your interview skills? The Career Center will be open every weekday during winter break for those interested in meeting with deans to practice interviewing. Also check our last PCA column in The Amherst Student with more interview tips. PCAs will have drop-ins; advisors will be meeting with students by appointment only.
6. Enroll in a winter break course. If you’re staying on campus, winter break is the perfect time to expand your skills in a relaxed, homework-free environment. Don’t miss out on a chance to meet new people and learn new things! Find out about all the January experiential offerings by searching “interterm” on the College website. Check back often as new things will be added between now and the end of the semester.
We wish you the best as you plan these last few weeks of the semester and your upcoming winter break. Feel free to stop by the Career Center with any questions about resumes, internships, or life — we’d be happy to sit and chat.
Good luck with all your finals!