By Emily Komendera, Assistant Director, Employer Engagement and On-Campus Interviews

Fall Quarter came and went in a blur.

Luckily, the relief of a month-long break is right around the corner! While it may be tempting to use that time for Netflix (or Disney+) and holiday socializing, make sure to also set some career goals. With this time, you have the freedom to focus on what lies next after college, and the time to get some things done that wouldn’t be as feasible with class projects and homework piling up.

1. Pump up your online brand

What a great time to finally make those edits to your LinkedIn and Handshake profiles! You’ve taken some awesome classes this past quarter, and maybe you had a great internship that you haven’t added to your experience section. Think beyond text, and consider adding photos, links to your work, or going beyond that to create a professional portfolio online. Wix, Weebly, Squarespace, or Moonfruit are easy to use resources for creating an online portfolio. This can really make an impact on an employer’s first impression of you, and can also include more examples of your work beyond what’s included on your resume.

2. Follow up with your contacts

The end of a quarter is a great time to check back in with some of the people you’ve met recently at networking events, or colleagues from your summer internship. Make sure you are tracking your networking contacts and the last time you’ve connected, an easy way to do this is through an Excel or Google Sheet. You don’t only want to reach out to them when you need something – so share a quick update on how the quarter went, maybe email over an article that made you think of them, or ask how things have been going for them on a project you saw them share on LinkedIn.

3. Expand your network

While many folks travel over the holidays and might not have as much availability, intersession can be a great time for you to sit down and identify gaps in your network. Say your dream company is Google and you don’t know anyone who works at Google! Check out the DePaul ASK Network or look at those who are 2nd degree connections on LinkedIn who work at Google. If you know the person you have in common as a connection well enough, you can ask them for an introduction, or ask if they would be comfortable if you mentioned their name when you reach out to them with a LinkedIn message. When building your network, it’s always important to think about who you are already connected to and how they can help – but always put the ownership for that action on yourself.

4. Explore short-term opportunities

The holidays can be a slow time for some, but for non-profit, retail, and hospitality, it can be the busiest time of year! If you’re looking to make a little extra cash, add experience to your resume, or both, consider exploring seasonal opportunities. There are a lot of great options on Handshake; make sure to type “seasonal” in the search bar in the “jobs” tab. You never know what a short term opportunity could bring in the long run!

5. Set goals for next quarter

This additional time and the terrible Chicago weather make for a really great opportunity to reflect on what has changed this past quarter for your future goals. Write down stories about things you learned professionally and personally, and document all of your successes. It will come in handy when you have your next interview.

It’s also a great time to think ahead and set some tangible goals for what you’d like to do in the remainder of your time here at DePaul and beyond. If you’d like to talk to someone to bounce your ideas off of for goals, remember that the DePaul Career Center is open through 12/20.