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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