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Make the Most of Your Winter Break

November 20, 2014

The upcoming winter break provides tons of opportunities for you to reconnect with contacts you’ve made throughout the previous year. Think strategically and use the next several weeks to build and expand your networks.

1. By early December, you will be hunkered down in final exam mode. Use the day after Thanksgiving to send holiday wishes to any professionals you encountered during the previous 12 months. For more casual acquaintances, feel free to send your wishes via email. In the case of a prospective employer, past employer, or alumni of the school, consider sending a holiday card with a brief personal note. That personal communication will help you become memorable.

2. Many offices experience their quietest time of year between Christmas and New Years. Key decision-makers, who have chosen to stay in town, may have more time than normal to meet with students interested in a particular entity. Take a risk this holiday season. Make a list of the school’s alumni who you would most like to meet and email a meeting request. Don’t give up until you’ve succeeded in scheduling at least one meeting.

3. If you plan to return to a city where you worked as a summer associate or intern, use the upcoming break to reconnect face to face with contacts you previously established. A quick coffee or lunch allows you to reconfirm your interest in an employer.

4. In addition to meeting with prospective employers, start building your professional network. Use the winter break to reconnect with peers, college classmates and the like. And don’t forget to connect with the parents of your friends, who may become important members of your network, too.

5. Spend some focused time during the winter break setting SMART (Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-limited) goals for 2015. Ask yourself: Who do I need to know? Who can help me make a connection with a potential employer? How should I best reach out to that person? When? What do I wish to ask of that person? Remember, you will never accomplish a goal that you don’t set.