Ten Ways to Maximize Your Time Over Winter Break
What a year it’s been! We have all spent the better part of 2020 in quarantine or isolation, socially distancing from family, friends, school, and work. We have had to cope with unprecedented challenges and yet we have risen to the occasion. As Babson students, residing on campus or some other place across the US or around the globe, you have been charting a course where none existed before. You have seized opportunities, taken smart risks, and managed to effectively, creatively and successfully navigate the fall semester, during a pandemic and national election. You have engaged in online classes, virtual networking and remote interviews. You’ve chosen the high road and as such, demonstrated resiliency and innovation, hallmarks of entrepreneurs. The future is yours, you simply must seize the moment and yes, it is a different moment in time.
As the semester comes to a close, many of you are starting to think about next year. What will I do when I graduate? How will I find an internship? Should I consider taking classes in the summer or working on my start-up?
We know so many things are out of our control, but here in the Hoffman Family Undergraduate Center for Career Development, we have some ideas on how you might maximize your time over winter break.
- Stay Connected or Get Connected with UG CCD
Have you engaged with CCD or are you just getting started? Either way, you can count on us to support you as you explore career options and search for a job or internship. Reach out to us and make an appointment, we are open and available via web chat, phone, or email during winter break (just closed when Babson closes between Christmas and New Year’s) and will work with you to identify your next steps as you navigate your college to career journey.
- Gratitude: Feel and Express Thankfulness and Appreciation
Especially during these unprecedented times, think about those people who you most appreciate and why. Be grateful for them, their contributions, their talents and their actions – and make sure you let them know how you feel, and how they have impacted your life. Gratitude helps us learn. Every dark cloud has a silver lining. Behind every problem lies an opportunity. By being grateful for our situation, even if we don’t like everything about it, we can be thankful for the opportunity to learn something new.
- Build your Personal Brand – Virtually!
Your personal brand is what sets you apart from others. You’re not just another college student, you are a unique individual with a combination of skills, experience, and a message that distinguishes you from the crowd.
A personal brand statement encapsulates who you are and what you stand for, as well as differentiates you from others. Think of it as your own marketing tagline, that is memorable. Update your LinkedIn and Handshake profiles so they tell your unique story. Regularly check your privacy settings on your personal social media pages to make sure that when someone Googles you – they only see what you want them to see.
- Grow Your Professional Relationships
Networking is the cornerstone of a successful career. Building robust connections throughout your career will increase the odds of landing your dream job. The holiday season is a great time to expand your network. Reach out to extended family and friends. People that are in your area of interest (industry, function, geography) can bring a new perspective to your career search, connect you to opportunities, facilitate professional development, and serve as sounding boards. Networking is not only a tool to get your foot in the door for professional opportunities, but is also a matter of career longevity and success.
- Consider the Importance of Passive Networking
Networking takes a variety of shapes and forms and is not simply just attending a job fair or an event. The end of the year is the perfect time to curate your social media links. Be an active LinkedIn user; build a robust profile, join and follow companies, individuals and organizations that are of interest to you. Join relevant LinkedIn groups; job-search groups, company groups, alumni groups, and networking groups. These groups are a great source for networking contacts, job-search advice, and job listings. The stronger your social presence, the more likely you are to be tapped by companies using social recruiting to find candidates.
- Focus On What You Can Control – Upskill!
Your focus should be the things within your control – work on what gives you a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment and keep your momentum going. Use this as an opportunity to upskill and expand your connections. Lay the groundwork for the post pandemic period – when this “lock down” comes to an end, you will already be prepared, have opened doors, and built new relationships.
What better time to boost your skills than during the long winter break? As you read job descriptions, note the qualifications to determine if you have the requisite skills and competencies. Our extended break certainly provides time to enhance, expand and upskill. How about volunteering and helping those in need? Volunteer During Covid or take a free online course? MOOCS (Massive Open Online Courses), EdX classes (with free courses from MIT and Harvard), 14 Best Sites for Taking Online Classes, 450 Free Ivy League free Online Courses. Take online classes and show future employers that you are resilient and making the best of this challenging time.
- Gather Intel
During this unprecedented time, get a glimpse of company culture from an unusual perspective. How is the company dealing with the pandemic? How are they treating employees? Follow companies on social media and watch media coverage to determine how the leadership of the organization has responded. Make sure to check out review websites such as Glassdoor and Fairygodboss to get an inside look at what employees are saying, outside of the company’s corporate blog or official social media. Handshake offers peer to peer feedback on company culture and interviews. Staying on top of industry news and trends gives you intelligent talking points you can use during your interviews.
- Ready, Set, Go… But First, Practice, Practice, Practice
Now that you have completed the fall semester, refresh and update your resume (Vmock), make sure your LinkedIn profile is current (Aspire), practice virtual interviewing (Big Interview), and search for a job or internship (Handshake). Not sure what resources are available or what to do? Go to UGCCD Career Resources for 1 click access to all of our technology resources. Still feeling uncertain or unsure? Use our UGCCD Canvas Site for resources at your fingertips, 24/7. If you want to meet with a Career Advisor, UG CCD is open over winter break (just closed when Babson closes between Christmas and New Year’s) so schedule an appointment to meet with us through Handshake.
- Make Lemonade Out of Lemons
Employers are always looking for problem-solvers who are adaptable, flexible, and have a positive attitude. These professional competencies demonstrate to employers that you are more than what is on your resume. You’re someone who has helped propel your team to success (FME, MCFE), you’ve lead a club/organization on campus, you’ve hosted and facilitated a conference, or simply participated in a case competition. What better time to demonstrate these skills than remaining positive and upbeat while job searching during the pandemic? Job/internship search in a challenging economy isn’t easy or fun. However, if you approach it as an opportunity instead of an obstacle, you may find yourself with a job offer faster than you anticipated.
- Be Patient and Persistent
Stay on top of your plan, keep after your targets, and realize that it often takes multiple contacts before you can connect with someone. Follow up, but remember to strike a balance between being persistent and being a pest.
Even if you are doing everything in your control to get that job or internship, it might take longer than you had anticipated. This is where patience and persistence come in. When you don’t see progress as quickly as you had hoped, don’t be discouraged, push through if the end result is important to you. Take each day as it comes, and use all resources at your disposal and your efforts will pay off in the end.