Ahh, there’s nothing like winter break after a long semester. You’ve got rest and relaxation on the brain. You’re probably binge watching shows on Netflix and filling up on leftovers.
Sorry folks, but it’s time to get serious. While you’ve got some time on your hands, you should be getting yourself in tip-top shape for pursuing your next opportunity. So, here are five things I think you can do during break to improve your position, whether you’re looking for an internship next summer or graduating this spring and ready to get your first real job in sports:
- Get a website or update your current website. I’m a big proponent of having an online presence, and that starts with your website. Not sure what you would put on a website? I would start with a short statement about what you want to do – your elevator speech. (Don’t have one? Add that to your list for winter break.) I would also include your resume (after you complete #3 below), links to your social media pages and a headshot. If you have it, you’ll also want to include links to any work you have, which can be written pieces, graphic design work or anything else you’ve helped create.
- Clean up your social media and follow new people. Take a look at your social media profiles, and put yourself in the position of a potential employer. Are all of your postings and photos appropriate? Check out this post if you need more guidance on what shouldn’t be on your social media. Another good test: look at each post and ask yourself, if an employer put this post/photo up on a screen during an interview and questioned me on it, would I feel uncomfortable or embarrassed? Err on the side of caution. If you’re satisfied your social media feed is clean and acceptable, check out this post for more tips on how to use social media for professional development, including following people who have the job you might want one day.
- Update LinkedIn and your resume. Now is a great time to update your resume and your LinkedIn profile to match. Employers are increasingly using LinkedIn to find candidates, even when you don’t apply for a position with them. A whopping 77 percent of employers say they use social media to recruit, and 94 percent of those used LinkedIn. How great would it be to get a job offer without even applying? Make sure you keep LinkedIn updated! If your resume or LinkedIn profile need a little help, start here: 10 Words that Ruin Your Resume and Cover Letter,
- Shadow someone. Ideally, you would want to line up shadow opportunities in advance of winter break, but it might not be too late. Very few people ask to shadow professionals, which I think is a huge mistake. I shadowed a sports agent for a couple of days during law school and found out it absolutely was not what I wanted to do. It’s a great learning experience, and it’s also a great way to network. Check out this post about one of my career coaching clients who shadowed an NBA executive (who continued to do all the right things after that experience and landed a year-long paid internship with the Tampa Bay Bucs that was extended an additional year). Don’t be afraid to email someone nearby who has a job you think you might be interested in one day and ask if you can shadow them. The professionals I’ve spoken with get very few of these requests, so many of them are more than willing to let you tag along for a day. If you can’t work it out for winter break, let them know some other dates you’ll be available this spring.
- Learn something new. I know, the last thing you want to do during winter break is learn anything…but this can be more fun than what you’re learning in that required course you’re signed up for this spring (no offense, professors). Check out job listings for positions you’re interested in and take note of any skills required that you don’t already have and can teach yourself, such as Adobe InDesign. There are tons of resources online you can tap into to teach yourself some of those skills you lack. Take this time to do it – not only will it give you the skills, but it will show you have initiative. I can’t speak for all employers, but that’s the number one thing I look for in a candidate.
You know what I always say…if you’re not doing it, someone else is!