5 Ways to Enhance Your Professional Development Over J-Term

By: Marissa Humayun

As the fall semester is beginning to wrap up, and finals are upon us, we as students are focused on 1) doing well on our finals and 2) packing up and heading home for the remaining weeks of December, and almost the entire month of January.

You may be reading this right now and be thinking to yourself, “What am I going to do for the next month and a half?” That is a genuine concern (that I also have!).

Other than maybe decking the halls, and ringing in the new year, it is important to still consider your professional development in this break between semesters, to maximize your time away from the books.

With that being said, here are 5 tips to kick-start your professional development for 2018 over this J-term.

  1. Become certified to something relevant to your field of study

Are you a marketing major? An article from kuder.com suggests Google’s free certification offers for Google Adwords and Google Analytics for students looking to boost their skills. Give yourself a competitive advantage and stand out from your peers with a specialized skillset.

  1. Build your portfolio

Your resume is just one snapshot of your accomplishments. It is an extremely important document, however, being able to show examples of your work and capabilities to an interviewer is beyond powerful. Create a collection of what you think are the best reflections of your work to prove to employers that you deserve the job!

  1. Become organized in your career search

Take advantage of this extra time away from academics and get organized with your career search. I know that for myself, I have a running spreadsheet with all of the applications I have sent, the recruiter’s name/contact info, my interview status with them, and any other relevant information pertaining to ongoing interviews. This will give you a clear, nicely systematized way of looking at the status of each potential opportunity, and a visual may even shed some more light on which opportunities excite you the most.

  1. Network with your family connections

Taking time to network during J-term can only help you, not hurt you. Yes, it may be a bit uncomfortable reaching out, and making the first move with a family connection in your desired industry, but a personal connection is bound to get your resume into the hands of the recruiter faster, and may give you more eyes on your resume.

  1. Set goals for yourself

Finally, set goals for yourself! It is so important to be goal-oriented. Think about what you are motivated by, think about the things you have been wanting to improve about yourself. Use this time to reflect upon yourself, and create some attainable targets for the upcoming semester. Accomplishing a goal is one of the most rewarding feelings, and again, can only help you in your search for a professional opportunity.

Overall, J-term seems so much more productive when thinking about your future, rather than watching all 14 seasons of Grey’s Anatomy (I may or may not be guilty of that!). Use this time to jump-start your career search and discover the things that matter most to you in a job.