I’m home for two weeks, how can I maximize my winter break?

First, take a well-deserved break from studying—catch up on sleep, see friends, experience a weekend without homework. It’s hard to start strong in January without some quality rest between quarters.

If you have specific career ideas in mind, winter break can be a great way to explore it. A few ideas include:

  • Reach out to UW alumni in your community to set up an informational coffee chat in your area of interest. Prep your questions in advance!
  • Build a list of companies or organizations that are in your target field. This research can help you in a big way when it comes time to searching for internships and jobs.
  • Track down the professional association(s) affiliated with your career interests. You can find a large list of associations maintained by the Washington State Library. Professional associations often have great industry news and updates on their websites or LinkedIn groups.
  • Add key events like career fairs to your calendar for winter quarter and start preparing your resume.

If you’re still exploring options, winter break is good for that, too:

  • If you’ll be attending parties or social events, ask people about their work: what do they like best? What’s interesting about their field? What’s challenging about their field? See if anything stands out to you.
  • Look for a way to volunteer on a short-term or one-day project. United Way of King County maintains a good list for the region, Seattle Works has a local volunteer calendar, and Volunteer Match has lists for cities across the US.
  • Check out a fun career exploration tool online like Road Trip Nation, O*NETS’s old school interest survey, or even a values “card sort.” Track what you learn because this info can be used as criteria to sort through job options later.

Finally, when it’s just too cold to leave your house:

  • Browse the Talent Communities on our website. We collect info, advice, and events that come our way for a wide range of career interests. You can even subscribe to have posts emailed directly to you!
  • Work on your LinkedIn profile. Polish your summary statement, connect with classmates from fall quarter, and brainstorm groups to join.
  • Spend some time reflecting on fall quarter: what projects, papers and classes were most interesting and why? What happened that changed your perspective on a topic or issue? Were there faculty, staff, or others who made an impression? It seems like you’ll never forget that challenging research methods class, but within a year in can be hard to recall the details.
  • Add anything new you started this quarter to your resume. Consider having one version of your resume that has everything you’ve done so you can have a master record.
By Catherine Basl
Catherine Basl Career Counselor Catherine Basl