Students: Make the Most of Your Winter Break
The upcoming winter break provides tons of opportunities for you to reconnect with contacts you’ve made throughout the previous year. Before final exams begin, spend some time thinking strategically about how you can use the next several weeks to build and expand your networks.
1. If you don’t already possess a stack of business cards, order some today. Your cards should list your name, the name of your school, your anticipated graduation date, and your contact information. Once you have your cards in hand, carry them with you everywhere. The person seated next to you on your post-final-exams trip home just may be the employer of your dreams.
2. Set aside time to send holiday wishes to any professionals you encountered during the previous 12 months. For more casual acquaintances, feel free to send your wishes via email. In the case of a prospective employer, past employer, or alumni of the school, consider sending a holiday card with a brief personal note. This personal communication will help you become memorable, something that never hurts when you need to land your first real job.
3. Many offices experience their quietest time of year between Christmas and New Year’s Day. Key decision makers who stay in town over the holidays may have more time than normal to sit down and talk with you. Take a risk this holiday season. Make a list of the school’s alumni with whom you would most like to meet and email a meeting request. Don’t give up until you’ve succeeded in scheduling at least one meeting.
4. If you plan to return to a city where you worked as a summer associate or intern, use the upcoming break to reconnect face to face with contacts you previously established. A quick coffee or lunch allows you to reconfirm your interest in a prospective employer.
5. In addition to meeting with prospective employers, use the winter break to reconnect with peers and college classmates. They may become important members of your network. And don’t ignore their parents, some of whom may be able to give you direction and even new leads.
6. Use holiday parties to build your professional network. If you have a beverage, hold it in your left hand. This will keep your hands at waist level, making you look comfortable and approachable. Obtain either a beverage OR something to eat—never both. Keep one hand available to greet others.
7. Focus on festive communications. Holiday parties are intended to be happy, social gatherings. They are not the time to press for a job. If you don’t know what to say, ask others about their holiday plans.
Courtesy of Mary Crane & Associates