BBA Peer Insights (Underclassmen Edition): Utilizing Thanksgiving and Winter Breaks to Strengthen Your Career Search

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November 10, 2015 by ambermomin

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If you’re anything like the majority of college students, Thanksgiving and winter break are the perfect excuses for you to forget about school, sleep all day, and go into complete relaxation mode. However, if you want to make the best of your free time away from the stress of classes and exams, be proactive and use your breaks to further your career exploration. Here are some tips for all you McCombs freshmen and sophomores to keep in mind to maximize your career-related productivity over the breaks!

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Thanksgiving Break

Set up an informational interview: An informational interview is a meeting to learn about the real-life experience of someone working in an industry or company that interests you. If you’re a freshman interested in exploring careers related to specific majors, or if you’re a sophomore wanting to learn more about the corporate culture of a specific company, set up an informational interview! Informational interviews are one of the most insightful, yet underused opportunities available to students. Reach out to a family friend, alumni, and/or employer connection asking to set up an informational interview either in person or via telephone during Thanksgiving break and ask any questions you may have to get first-hand insight about the job.

Pro Tip: Check out this Forbes article on How to Land and Ace an Informational Interview! Also, watch out for our upcoming blog on info interviews and job shadowing!

Create/update your LinkedIn profile: If you haven’t already, create a LinkedIn account to help you maintain your professional networks. If you already have a LinkedIn, be sure to connect with any recruiters you met at the career expo and information sessions, so you can stay in touch with them in the future. And lastly, if your LinkedIn headshot is outdated or unprofessional, be sure to use your extra time during Thanksgiving break to take and upload a new photo!

Pro Tip: Get started! Check out LinkedIn’s student website and Student Profile Check List. Join Texas BBA Career Services Student, Alumni, and Employer LinkedIn Group.

Not having a headshot on LinkedIn reflects very poorly, so be sure to upload yours asap!

Not having a headshot on LinkedIn reflects very poorly, so be sure to upload yours ASAP!

Winter break

Update your resume: With the end of the first semester, be sure to set aside time during winter break to update your resume with your recent accomplishments. Freshmen, start to evaluate what activities on your resume from high school you want to start taking off in order to make room for your new involvements in organizations here at UT. Sophomores, be sure to update your resume with detailed descriptions of any leadership positions or jobs you took on during the first semester. Keep your GPA, graduation date, and official major updated as well!

Pro Tip: Remember to utilize the BBA Resume Template.  BBA students are required to use the BBA Resume format when applying to postings in OCR. Also, check out our Resume Writing guide and Job Search Correspondence guide (cover letter and follow up guidance).

Volunteer: It’s the season of giving, so don’t forget to give back to your local community. Recruiters love to see volunteer experience on a resume and hold community service in high regard. Look around your city for interesting volunteer opportunities during winter break, such as toy drives and food banks; there’s always a service event looking for extra hands to help out!

Pro Tip: Check out VolunteerMatch.org; a site that connects you with volunteer opportunities per your interests.

Set up a job shadowing experience: If your informational interview from Thanksgiving break caught your interest in a particular industry, ask the individual you interviewed if you can shadow them for a day or two during winter break. Job shadowing gives you an introspective view into the day-to-day responsibilities of a specific employee. Often times, students shadow for what is supposedly their dream position and learn that they hate it; conversely, many students shadow for a job that they originally have no interest in, but through the shadowing experience, come to love it!

Pro Tip: Check out this article on How To: Arrange and Conduct a Job Shadow. Also, watch out for our upcoming blog on job shadowing and info interviews!

Buy a suit: If you’re a freshman and haven’t already bought a professional suit, be sure to buy one during winter break! Not only will you need one to attend some of the extra credit events for BA101, but you will need one for any recruiting events that you attend. Sophomores, if your suit from last year is wearing out or running too small, be sure to revamp your wardrobe and buy a new suit as well. Remember, though they might be pricey, suits are long-term investments, so be sure to buy a quality suit and get it fitted!

Pro Tip: Take advantage of “after the holiday” sales!

Hopefully you can utilize these tips to maximize your productivity during Thanksgiving and winter break. Be sure to enjoy your time off, but don’t forget to continue your career search!

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