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    Winter Break Career Prep Tips

    With January being one of the peak times to search for jobs, Chris Whitney, director of the Center for Career Development at The University of Scranton, offers some intersession career preparation tips to students.
    December 5, 2018
    By: Catherine Johnson ’20, student correspondent

    Chris Whitney, director of the Center for Career Development at The University of Scranton, offers advice on what students can do during the winter break to prepare for their future careers.

    Job Searches Peak in January

    According to Chris Whitney, January is a peek time to look for jobs, as many employers will be posting new positions after the new year. If you haven’t already, winter break is a great time to make use of Handshake.com. You can log on by visiting scranton.edu/careers and clicking on the link provided. Currently, Handshake lists more than 8,000 postings, including nearly 2,000 internships.

    Build and Refresh your Network

    Intersession is a great time to get in touch with people, especially alumni, whom you have met during your time at Scranton. Send them an email and ask if they would be available to talk or meet with you. This is a chance for you to learn about what successful men and women in your field have done to get where they are. Whitney suggests asking them about their journey and their career, as well as for advice as you start to think about your future. This will show intellectual curiosity and is a great way to practice communication skills without the stress of interviewing.

    If you feel awkward reaching out to alumni you barely know, Whitney says don’t. Talking with alumni about your career is a safe place to start and alumni want to help Scranton students succeed. Most will feel flattered that you want to hear their stories and listen to their advice.

    Revamp your Resume

    A break from coursework offers an ideal time to focus on your resume, one of the most important documents needed in your career search. Whitney offers a few things to keep in mind when revamping your resume:

    Organization: keep the most relevant experiences and skills at the top of your resume. (Many employers will stop reading if the first item does impress them);

    Research: once you have decided the positions you want to apply for, look at the job descriptions and make sure your resume exhibits the skills and experience the employer mentions in the job listing. Again, Handshake is a great tool for this. Be sure to include industry terms mentioned in your resume and cover letter. Usually, everything you need to mention is included in the job description.

    Use your network: ask alumni to look at your resume and take their advice to heart;

    Customize your resume: some students think that a resume should be a one size fits all deal. It is not. If you are applying to slightly different positions at different companies or organizations, your resume might have to be different too depending on the skills and experiences needed for each position. Each resume should be tailored to the position you want.

    Practice your Interview Skills

    Don’t have any interview experience? Whitney suggests getting some practice during the break by using Big Interview, an online mock interview program. All you need is a computer with a webcam and the website will provide sample interviews based on industry with three difficulty levels from which to choose. The website will record your responses for your review. You can also share your responses with career counselors at the University or members of your network for feedback. To get started, just visit scranton.edu/careers and scroll down for the link.

    Catherine Johnson ’20, Scranton, is an English and philosophy double major and member of the Special Jesuit Liberal Arts Honors Program at The University of Scranton.
    Catherine Johnson ’20, Scranton, is an English and philosophy double major and member of the Special Jesuit Liberal Arts Honors Program at The University of Scranton.
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