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How to Job Search During Semester Break

Top 10 Tips for Job Hunting during Semester Break for College Students

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How to Job Search During Semester Break

Network at Holiday Parties

Copyright Kevin Russ
It is very challenging for college students to devote the time needed to conduct an effective job search during the semester while they are preoccupied with academics, athletics, co-curricular activities, volunteer work, internships and a busy campus social life.

In addition, for students who want to work summer or post grad jobs in locations far removed from their campuses it is hard to travel to these places to network and/or interview during a busy semester.

Use Semester Break for Job Hunting

The semester break is a crucial time for students to ramp up their searches when they are freer to take the steps necessary to land good summer or post grad jobs in this difficult job market. So what can students (often with the help of families) to capitalize on this window of opportunity?

Target Locations Where You Would Like to Work

It can be fun to think about where you'd like to spend your summer or start your career! Once you have an area of interest research job openings in that location and apply to as many opportunities as possible.

If the location is far from your school, let employers know that you are available during break for an interview or even an informal meeting (if they are not yet conducting formal interviews). This strategy will be particularly important if you will be abroad during the semester and not available to meet with employers during that time.

Find Companies to Work For

Since many jobs will not yet be advertised it is be equally important to identify employers in fields of interest even if you haven't seen any job ads from them. You can use local chambers of commerce and employer directories as well as a variety of other resources research prospects.

Connect With Employers

Send a letter of interest and resume or even visit some local organizations and inquire about summer or entry level opportunities.

Traveling to check out new locations can be exciting. Think about family and friends in those areas who might allow you to stay with them for a couple of days while you conduct your meetings.

Build a Career Network

Semester break is an ideal time to reach out to contacts in locations, fields and organizations of interest. Use informational interviews to ask them for advice about your search, information about their field and suggestions about jobs and internships. These meetings can often lead to job referrals and are a critical piece of any summer or entry level job search.

Tap Your Connections

Ask your college career and/or alumni office for a list of contacts in fields and geographic areas of interest. Parents can help by pulling together a list of family contacts to approach for informational interviews.

Send a letter in the old fashioned snail mail telling them a little about what you are up to in your life and include a request for an informational consult or referrals to any of their contacts in areas of interest. Include a current photo - old folks love to see how you've grown!

Attend Holiday Gatherings

Take advantage of any holiday gatherings to talk about your situation and ask for advice and referrals. You will be amazed at how helpful these family "friendlies" can be you're your job search!

Set Up a Job Shadow

If you identify any people eager to help, consider asking them if you could shadow them or a colleague over break. A shadow experience will give you great insight into the field and the opportunity to meet and make a favorable impression with lots of people on the inside of that organization.

Attend Job Fairs

Check to see if there are any job fairs in your area over break and attend if possible. Ask your college career office for suggestions as well as local chambers of commerce.

Use Social Media

Use the break to create or update a LinkedIn profile, Search for a networking group for your college and/or ask your career or alumni office for suggestions. Identify industry groups for fields of interest and join them if they are open to students. Reach out to people in these groups and ask if you might meet with them for an informational consultation to learn more about their field.

Target Spring Campus Recruiters

Identify employers who will be visiting your campus to recruit this spring and compose drafts of cover letters while you have more time to create effective communications). Professionals in your college's career office will often be available during break to critique your letters from a distance.

If you spend a couple of hours each day over break carrying out these types of activities, you will still have time to decompress and you'll relieve some of the pressure of spring job search when you resume your hectic life on campus this spring.

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