Ah, the semester is finally coming to a close! Soon there will be no more exams, essays, or classes. But don’t let your free time slip away: While winter break is a time to relax and rest for the upcoming spring, it’s also a great time to continue looking into your career interests.

Maybe you want to get a head start on summer internships, or find that perfect job, or just meet some alumni. Within a few weeks, all of this is possible and more!

Here are some solid starting points:

  • Research Employers – If you’re looking for an internship, no matter when it will be, break is a great opportunity to put in the time you don’t have during the semester to research potential internships and job opportunities. Browse websites, look up data sources, and read news articles and forums, gaining as much information as possible.

  • Create a spreadsheet to organize all of your potential employers or opportunities will help keep you organized and on-track with deadlines.

  • Network with professionals in a job field you may be interested in, or just in an industry you are passionate about. If you are unsure of where to start looking, LinkedIn and the Emerson Mafia Facebook page are great resources for finding alumni with connections.

  • Conduct Informational Interviews. When you find someone you really want to talk to, sometimes they are unable to let you shadow them. In which case, reach out and ask for an informational interview. This will allow you to learn more about the company, your contact, and an opportunity to tell them about yourself and what you want to do. Informational Interviews are a great resource for connecting to professionals who are too far away for you (such as in NY or LA).

  • Improve your LinkedIn Profile. LinkedIn is a website many employers are using to reach out to potential new interns or employees, and can allow you to connect with alumni and other professionals in your desired industry. By making a profile and polishing it, you are setting an example for those you contact and giving yourself more exposure.

  • Polish Your Resume and Cover Letter so that when you are ready to start applying for those internships and jobs, they are ready to go! If you have a specific company in mind, tweak your materials to help match what they are looking for. They say that practice makes things perfect.

  • Create a Website/Portfolio. Many employers look for samples of your work, and whether you are a VMA looking to go into the film industry, or a WLP looking to go into publishing, a website or portfolio could help showcase your work. Use this time to create new projects and post them online (if you feel comfortable/confident) for employers to view.

  • Gain Short-Term Experience through temporary employment, volunteering, or a two-three week internship. These may require some searching, and the internship should be set up months before. However, if you are able to gain some professional experience, regardless of what, that is a great way to spruce up your resume and possibly learn something new.

  • Learn a New Skill. Maybe there is something you always wanted to learn how to do, a program for creating art or a piece of equipment you just never got around to fiddling with. Well, now is your chance with all your free time. This a great opportunity to try something new and add it to your resume.

  • Research Study Abroad options if you plan on adding this experience to your education. There are many programs offered both inside and outside of Emerson to explore. Choose one which sits best with you, whether educationally, financially, or otherwise, and make plans for how you can experience it!

No matter how you decide to spend winter break, make sure to keep in contact with those you reach out to and enjoy every minute! Searching for jobs and working on your professional materials should be fun, not a chore. Come back to a new semester energized, with confidence in your ability to woo an employer.