By: Dana Simpson  | 

Career Corner: Job Hunting over Winter Break

So, it’s winter break. That means it’s time to binge watch your favorite Netflix show, catch up with friends, and of course, sleep until noon. But this vacation can also be the time to get a head start on the “Job Search.”

Ah, the Job Search. Those two small words can seem overwhelming. It’s especially difficult to manage and may cause unnecessary stress when you are busy with classes AND looking for a job.  Below is a list that can help you organize your time effectively and ensure you meet your job search goals.

1. Work on your LinkedIn Profile and Activity

LinkedIn is a social networking website open to anyone, including students, employers, recruiters, independent workers, and professionals outside of the workforce, who want to look for a job, uncover new opportunities and network. When I ask students why they don’t have a LinkedIn profile, they often respond that “LinkedIn is for 30 year olds and people who have already been in the professional world for several years.” This is just not true. Use LinkedIn to research companies, connect with professionals and Yeshiva University alumni, and apply for jobs. Over winter break, here’s how you can easily improve your LinkedIn profile and use this platform:

  • Add to your “summary” section the type of internship/full-time role you are seeking! This way, people you connect with can easily identify what you’re interested in, and recruiters can find you in a candidate search.
  • Add skills, articles you’ve published, media you’ve created, your profile photo, relevant coursework and academic work, and any volunteer/leadership experience you have. And of course, add any relevant work experience.
  • "Follow” companies and relevant people on LinkedIn to stay on top of industry and company news (which you can also use as talking points in interviews). This also allows you to see other professionals who “follow” the groups you join.
  • Browse the profiles of professionals and YU alumni with whom you want to connect.. This allows you to learn more about their day-to-day responsibilities and enables you to gather more information on career trajectories and companies.

Your profile has to exist to allow you to connect with people! 93% of recruiters today use LinkedIn. It’s a tool that should be utilized by all college students even if graduate school is the next step in one’s career.  

2. Set up Informational Interviews

An informational interview is an opportunity to speak to a professional and gather and seek information about a company, role, and industry. You can do this with neighbors, people in your community, friends of friends, and of course, with professionals on LinkedIn. Conducting an informational interview requires that you prepare ahead of time.

  • Target 3-5 people you want to speak with and send a message/email to share a little about who you are, and why you are interested in connecting with them. Have a specific topic/question in mind and elaborate on why you want to speak with them. You don’t want to ask someone for a job outright, but you can say something like, “I see you have worked in XYZ and I would love to learn more about your day-to-day job,” OR “I see you’ve been a X. How did you make the transition into Y, which is something I am interested in pursuing?”
  • Once you have a date set up, think through the purpose of your call/meeting. You lead the direction of the meeting to gain the insights you seek.
  • You can end the conversation with a question like “With whom might you recommend I speak to get even more information on this industry?” This way, you can show your interest in learning more, and continue to network and broaden your connections in industry.  
  • Send a follow up thank you email. Note something you learned and found particularly helpful or insightful from the conversation. If relevant, follow up in a few weeks to speak or meet again to maintain the relationship and connection.

The Career Center can help set up meetings like this, too. If you are going home to another state, this can be a particularly good use of your time if you are looking to intern out of NYC and you can connect with these people in person while you’re home.

3. Keep track of job prospects

It’s important to stay hyper-organized in your job search. Keep a file on your job applications, contacts at each firm, follow-ups, job status, interviews, and more! This way, you can ensure you don’t miss out on any opportunities, and you can maintain close contact with relevant people and firms. Don’t be afraid to send follow up emails, and even get on the phone and call to check on the status of an application if you have not heard anything within 10 days, or if you have not heard back from an employer who said they would respond to you within a specific time period.  If you have a recruiter or person you’re in contact with, make sure you show you are still interested in an opportunity. Beware of stalking, though! You don’t want to be too aggressive. If you have specific questions about a situation, feel free to contact the Career Center.

4. Send out a “Happy New Year” email!

The New Year and holiday season are perfect opportunities to reach out to employers, mentors, and your network to check-in and wish them a healthy and happy New Year and holidays! This does two things. First, it reminds employers and people in your network that you’re thinking of them and wish them well. When you take an interest in someone, they are more likely to help you once you show them you care. Secondly, this allows you to re-establish a relationship you might not have been maintaining and/or continue to develop a relationship you were nurturing. It’s also an excuse to ask to grab a coffee or have a catch up call after the New Year. Be cognizant that most people are away and travelling during this time, so don’t expect to set something up before the New Year hits! It’s all about the follow up and follow through!

5. Re-evaluate and Reflect

They always say that gym membership skyrockets after the New Year. Americans make promises and commitments to themselves and hope that the New Year can be “the year” of change. Despite the low rate of success with such commitments, the New Year brings an excuse for pause, introspection and reflection. Are you enjoying your major? Are you interested in learning more about another field and profession, but aren’t sure where to begin? Are you applying to realistic jobs? Should you be more targeted with your job or internship search? Don’t be afraid to ask yourself these questions.

6. Stop by the Career Center. We’re open!

You may be on vacation, but the Career Center isn’t! Meet with a counselor to review your resume and cover letter, conduct a mock interview, search for jobs, and more! We have so many resources to help you with your job search, and our career counselors are highly skilled and trained to help you through this process. And yes, it is a process, so if you learn how to manage and navigate the job search, you will succeed!

Be proactive and follow these steps to get ahead of the competition. We wish you continued success on your job search, and we hope we can continue to help you land your dream internship and job!

  Dana Simpson, Employer Relations Specialist, Yeshiva University Career Center