How to make the most of winter break

You’ve finished your finals and turned in your last term paper of the semester — but don’t turn off your brain just yet. Winter break is the perfect time to get organized for the job hunt, whether you’re looking to land a summer internship or move ahead in your career.

Matthew Shupp, director of student affairs at Penn State Brandywine, has advice for students on how to make the most of winter break this year.

Wrap up your résumé

Write down a list of what you accomplished this semester while it’s still fresh in your mind. Rather than focus only on jobs or classes, think about communication, presentation or team-building skills you picked up that will impress an employer, Shupp recommends.

“Whether you’ve just finished your first semester of college or you’re a graduating senior, your résumé should be up to date. You never know when you’re going to meet someone who can help you professionally,” he says.

Do some yuletide networking

Take advantage of holiday parties, as well as relatives and old friends coming to town, to make connections and start getting the word out about what jobs you’ll be seeking.

“Make the time you have off meaningful, to give yourself an edge up — which is especially important in this economy,” Shupp says. “You probably don’t want to be networking on Christmas Eve, but the holidays are a good time to start priming the pump.”

Give back

“A lot of students have good grades, a job, leadership skills — but one piece that tends to be missing is that service component,” says Shupp. “Find a volunteer project you’re interested in and help out.”

Catch up on some zzzz’s

Of course, winter break is also a good time to take a break. With no classes or clubs competing for your attention, now’s your chance to catch up on sleep. “Around this time, I always see students getting sick. So rest up, read a book, spend time with family and just relax after working hard all semester,” Shupp suggests.

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