Whether is a long break or just a week, it’s easy to fall in vacation mode when you have time off from school. While of course you need to take time to recharge so you can tackle the next term with purpose, school breaks are also a great opportunity to move ahead. Instead of majoring in Netflix for the entire break, try some of these techniques to help you learn and grow.
- Grow Your Network
When you’re away from school, it’s the perfect time to get a part-time job and look for networking opportunities.
If you’re back in your hometown for the holiday, reach out to former teachers, friends of your parents, childhood friends, and neighbors with careers you’re interested in. You never know who might have the connection you’re looking for to land the next internship or job.
You could also try reaching out to local businesses in your industry to see if they’ll let you job shadow for a few days. Seeing someone do a job you’re interested in is an extremely valuable learning opportunity.
Set up informational interviews with whoever you can. Grabbing coffee and discussing your career goals while learning about their journey is a great way to take advantage of your open schedule.
The more ways you can connect or reconnect with people in your industry, the better. A few informational interviews are a good start, but landing a part-time job, internship, or job shadow is very smart. Not only do you get a new entry for your resume, but you also have new skills to discuss and promote.
Working with a local nonprofit or another community service project is another recommend way to spend a school break. Plus, you could try using one of your job skills to help in the office of the nonprofit, and help with marketing, event planning, or making phone calls to donors.
Taking this initiative is a great way to flex your skills, plus you can prove to a potential employer your commitment to community.
If you’re hoping to travel during your break, look into volunteer opportunities at your destination. It will make your holiday much more worthwhile and open your eyes to other cultures.
Even a one-day shift at a soup kitchen can provide a great learning opportunity during your school break. Start looking for nonprofits in your area that support causes you’re passionate about and reach out to see how you can help.
- Develop Skills
Just because you’re out of school doesn’t mean learning should stop. Take advantage of your free time to pick up a new skill. Whether that’s learning Photoshop, getting an online marketing certificate, or just picking up a new hobby, you’ll be glad you did it once your schedule fills up.
Look at job postings for the types of positions you’ll be applying to after graduation. What skills are they looking for that your resume lacks? Find a way to tackle one of those skills so you can feel confident when you need it. It could be a second language, a new software program, or even a less technical skill like public speaking. Or, consider starting a blog about your industry to refine your writing skills and start to develop a voice as an expert.
If you know you will be applying to jobs soon, you can also take this time to brush up on interview skills, learn how to network, and how to polish your resume. Check out online classes or audiobooks to absorb as much as you can.
Though you should enjoy your vacation from school, be sure to remember how important this time is. If you tackle some of these projects, you’ll hit the first day of school feeling confident about your career journey and the next steps for your life.