Spending Time Wisely: Being Productive Between Semesters

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Spending Time Wisely: Being Productive Between Semesters

Tony S

Every year college students take a couple of weeks off to relax, watch football and spend time with family. While all of those activities are important, you can also dedicate some time to advancing your career. A couple of weeks may not seem like a lot of time to make relevant career progress, but small steps can make a big difference.

 

Build a website for yourself – In the current economy where there is a surplus of potential employees and a deficit of open jobs, the first thing an employer will do to sort through applicants is plug your name into a search engine. If the first result is an attractive online portfolio showcasing your work, then you will increase your chance of getting in for an interview. This is especially important as an aspiring IT professional, where a substantive website is a showcase of your core capabilities. Additionally, as you put yourself out there on social networks, you need to have one central hub to direct traffic, which assures continuity between your accounts across the social web.

 

Social network with a purpose – Social networks are not just for photo sharing and status updates. Social networks act as a way to connect with potential employers and colleagues, and to demonstrate your level of engagement related to IT topics, such as Microsoft TechNet forums. Be sure to read and re-read your posts to make sure that what you are posting is accurate, appropriate and grammatically accurate. This shows attention to detail that all employers are looking for. 

 

Love it or hate it, Twitter allows you to share publicly your interests and your level of expertise is on a given topic. For example, if you are an expert in Windows Phone 7 developing, you can join discussions and answer questions on Twitter. When potential employers look at your Twitter handle, they will see your active involvement in these conversations. It also demonstrates a level of dedication to the industry and a passion for IT that is valuable to all potential employers.

 

Land a freelance gig – Freelance work may not be as glamorous as working with a Fortune 500 company, but it carries many benefits. First, you get relevant work experience while not having to sign on for a long-term commitment. This is perfect for the short-term break between semesters. Second, freelance work demonstrates to potential full-time employers that you are proactive and resourceful. There are many resources you can tap to find freelance gigs, including localized classified ad sites like Craigslist.org, or freelance-specific ones like Guru.com or RentACoder.com. Most IT-specific job search sites such as Dice.com also have pages dedicated to freelance jobs currently available.

 

What else are you doing during the break between semesters to help advance your career?

 

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