Key tips to advance your career and other strategies to gain experience.

Key tips to advance your career and other strategies to gain experience.

Why is it so important to utilize your winter break for career preparation? Like many of us, we would love to just spend our time relaxing instead of concerning ourselves with something so far in the future. However, it isn’t so far off!   Winter break is a perfect time to spend reflecting on past experiences, researching companies, and finding/looking for possibilities.This is the perfect time to explore yourself and either consider new possibilities or consider alternative career options. You can weigh the pros and cons of finding a job after graduation or applying to graduate schools. Even if you are not graduating it is a perfect time for looking for summer internships or other volunteer opportunities. Experience is experience is experience! Umm… my point is the more experience you have the better.

To get you started here are a few things that might keep you busy during your winter break and influence your career possibilities:

Prepare for the Upcoming Semester
Job/Internship Search
Network
Use CDC Resources
Study Abroad
Career Exploration
Journal

Prepare for the Upcoming Semester

  • Reflect on the semester and figure out ways to improve
  • Update your resume and cover letter with current experiences and skills

Job/Internship Search.

  • Find an internship (http://www.mnsu.edu/cdc/students/jobs_and_internships/)
    • Look for opportunities that will give you relevant experience in your field, employers look at this as training for the job
  • Volunteer (http://www.mnsu.edu/engagement/search/) in your community
    • Again, look for opportunities that will maximize your experience related to your field of interest. Begin to create your network of mentors that will help you reach your goals
  • Job shadow an employee in your desired field to gain insight into responsibilities and daily tasks
  • Apply for seasonal or part-time job that will earn you extra bucks and add to your resume

Network

  • Join LinkedIn – Connect with previous employers, professors, and classmates
  • Informational interviewing- find out more information about the career by interviewing an employee and gain insight in their daily work life
  • Join professional organizations – stay up to date with current information and policies in your field
    • Usually, professional organizations have their own job board and listservs
    • Conferences for professional development and networking
  • Connect with family and friends
    • Be specific in what you would like to do and bring it up to everyone who asks!
    • This is a great opportunity to tell your family members what you are looking for and they may know someone they could connect you with.

Use CDC Resources

The CDC has a lot of great tools for you to use on the website at http://www.mnsu.edu/cdc/. Take some time to explore our website, there is a LOT of information for you to take advantage.

Study abroad! (http://www.mnsu.edu/studyabroad/)

Always dreamed of zip lining through the rainforest and learning a foreign language?!

  • There are short-term study abroad programs that you go pursue over winter break and earn college credit or volunteer or intern. Short term options are great for students that have always wanted to travel but worried about graduating on time or finances.
  • Earn college credits over winter break with short courses

Career Exploration (http://www.mnsu.edu/cdc/students/career/)

Using self-assessment tools like the FOCUS can help you to confirm your choices or to consider other possibilities.

Journal

  • When you first begin the hunt, make sure to keep a journal of possibilities.
  • Throughout the year, companies will be posting opportunities available in their organization through various means of communication. In the journal you can write down ideas, job titles, companies, and other things that begin to interest you. This can help when you go to do further research into a career and if you need a certain degree, or if further education is required.
  • Keeping a detailed list of all your findings can be useful when you begin to apply for positions.
  • Keeping notes throughout the process can be really helpful when you begin applying.
  • It can be a formal journal or lists on post-it notes but try to keep it semi-organized so you can use them to reference from time to time.

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