If you’re anything like me, you’re stuck between being bored in your hometown and jumping back into the whirlwind of schoolwork. We have a week left of winter break before it’s back on the grind, so here’s how to make the most of that last week and get a jump on this semester.
- Bump your LinkedIn up to all-star level. If you worked on anything during the fall semester worth showing off, this is the place to do it. Make sure your work experiences are updated, you’ve included all your skills and your profile picture is both recent and professional. No webcam selfies or carefully cropped group shots here. Take a few minutes to scroll through LinkedIn’s “People You May Know” section and add those people from high school, your alma mater and past jobs or internships. You never know — maybe the guy who sat behind you in high school French works at a company you could totally see yourself at post-graduation; it’s worth sending him a message.
- Clean up your online presence. If you prefer to keep your personal social media accounts private, now may be the time to start “professional” accounts where you can post about industry news and interact with those already established in the field. Keep the cat gifs separate – but please don’t stop posting them.
- Build your online portfolio. If you haven’t purchased your domain yet (i.e. your name dot com), now may be the time — especially if you are in a portfolio-driven field. Platforms like WordPress and Squarespace make it easy and relatively affordable to host a domain and make your website look put together even if you can’t code. Owning your domain will also help employers find the right you when they Google your name.
- Brush up on a skill. Our Syracuse email addresses give us access to Lynda.com, and a week of downtime is the perfect time to try something new or refresh your memory. If your resume has been exaggerating about your Excel skills for the past few years, here’s your chance to make sure you really do know what you’re talking about. You can also get certified in something new, like Google Analytics (cheers to all the advertising students currently procrastinating this), or refresh your memory from your years of high school foreign language with a free app like DuoLingo.
- Check in and schedule meetings. Have an adviser? Land a job or an internship? Fall out of touch with your network? Before you get swept up in early semester craziness, send out emails checking in and scheduling meetings with anyone you may need to see or hear from. Having things done in advance is a huge stress reliever, and you’ll look super thoughtful and prepared.
- Start your work for spring semester. If you’ve tried everything else and are totally out of ways to entertain yourself for the next week, you could order books or start your assigned reading for the spring. (Only to be attempted in cases of extreme boredom. The author is not responsible for cases of first day unpreparedness.)
-Laurie Silverstein is a graduate student studying advertising. *Not a sponsored post; all opinions on the above services are the author’s own.