4 Ways to Get Ahead in the Job & Internship Search Over Winter Break

Now, that we are heading it to our winter break, all we can think about is relaxing and sleeping and binge-watching our next favorite TV series. But college winter breaks are long, and after awhile, you often start to feel like you should be doing something. Well, what about getting ahead on some career prep? Winter break is the perfect time to start finding (and applying for) internships, or exploring what career you want to pursue when you graduate. Here are some easy but productive hacks for starting to thinking about your career over the break:

  1. 1. Make a Targeted To Do List

    To do lists are my safety net. When I am feeling overwhelmed or stressed about my workload for a given week, I sit down for fifteen to thirty minutes with my agenda book and decide how I want to split up long term assignments. Although winter and summer breaks are for relaxing so that you can return to school with a refreshed mindset, a particularly long break this year is the perfect opportunity to spend some of your time planning for the summer in terms of pursuing an internship, job, or research opportunity. It is important, though, that you do not overwhelm yourself with a long list of tasks. This is why I recommend sitting down and making a targeted to do list of three to five goals that you hope to meet this break. After you finish finals and treat yourself with your favorite cozy meal, take fifteen to thirty minutes to choose a few career orientated tasks you want to spend an hour or two working on each week during break. This could be taking a new LinkedIn profile photo, connecting with Connecticut College alumni in your field, or sending x amount of resumes to various positions you are interested in pursuing. I have made the mistake of biting off more than I can chew over break and end up returning to school still burned out rather than refreshed. That is why I recommend being intentional with your to do list as self-care is just as important as building your future.

    - Elizabeth Berry ‘21

  2. 2. Network with Alumni

    With more free time in your day, winter break is the perfect time to initiate informational interviews with people in your network. While you apply for internships, reach out to alums or friends who work at that company, and see if they would be willing to speak with you about their experiences at the company -- they may even have tips for completing your application! It’s best to have these conversations before you submit your application, so you can reference insight from these conversations in your cover letters. While alums tend to be helpful, it is always important to communicate with proper etiquette, don’t assume everyone will be willing to hop on a phone call, and express your appreciation.

    - Samantha Barth ‘21

  3. 3. Update Your Resume

    Did you join a new club this semester? Take some time to add new experience or add new detail to your entries. Think about specific accomplishments your organization has achieved during this semester, and quantify them if possible. Remember the STAR method!

    - Samantha Barth ‘21

  4. 4. Research Jobs and Industries You Are Interested In

    If you are just starting out and you’re still not sure what you want to do after college, a simple way to start is by researching. Conn’s Hale Career Center has a lot of great resources, especially for exploring different industries, companies, and jobs or internships. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your advisor, explore the career website, or research more about the opportunities they highlight in their emails. (Google can go a long way, too.) Sometimes even if you think a job or industry doesn’t connect with your intended major or the classes you have been taking, you’ll be surprised to discover how versatile some majors are. You can also look up individual companies to learn more about what they do, how they work, and what their values are. Even if it’s more general research, exploring can get spark ideas and may help you discover just what you are looking for!

    - Elizabeth Vinson, '21

Thinking about the future, especially as it relates to careers, can be super overwhelming and scary. We hope with these helpful hacks that you will be able to find manageable ways to jump into preparing for your career!