Now that the holidays are over, those of you without a job may be wondering what to do with the next several weeks of freedom. As an alternative to letting your brain turn to Netflix-filled mush over the Winter holiday, here are five things to do this break to stay productive.
Update your CV. If your CV hasn’t been updated in a year, then it is high time for you to add everything you’ve done (or, at the bare minimum, the university courses you have taken through this past semester). You can always take it in to the Careers Centre in February to fine-tune it, but the first step to any good CV is having all the right facts on it.
If you don’t have plans for next summer, consider using this time to apply for opportunities that sound interesting. You can apply for internships (or jobs, if you’ll be graduating), summer camp positions, translator roles in foreign countries, etc. In general, the sooner you apply the greater your chances–and you have more time now for turning in strong applications than you will during term-time.
If you know that some of your upcoming modules are very challenging, consider getting a head start on the material now. You may be able to get a basic understanding of a topic from Khan Academy, Coursera, Udemy, YouTube, or other online resources. Even better, if you happen to have your textbooks for next semester, try cracking them open and reading a few chapters.
If you are looking to add some flare to your CV, consider taking a bit of time to explore the certifications you can get through the university. The Professional Skills Curriculum (PSC) and Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) certification are both fairly impressive projects that you can work on over the break.
Under the PSC scheme, if you complete eight workshops focusing on five skills, and write a 1,500-word essay reflecting on your experience, you will get a certification from CAPOD. If you finish by June 1, it will be added to your transcript. To get a headstart on the program, you can complete online workshops. Simply go on Moodle and add the “Professional Skills Curriculum” course to begin.
The MOS certification is also administered by CAPOD, but the certification comes from Microsoft itself. Having a specialist certification in Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and/or Access is a great boost to your CV, and if you are extra keen you can even pursue expert certification in Word or Excel. Register for the program now by going to the “Registering for the MOS Program” page on the University website and filling out the form. Once you are approved, book an exam date in January or February and spend some time over the break doing the practise questions through the training software the university provides!
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, try not to get too stressed. You will be hard at work soon enough, once term starts. Spend some time with family, tinker with that hobby you’ve had on the back-burner, and of course indulge in some good old-fashioned bingeing. Make the most of this break, because once term starts back up you’ll have to wait seven whole weeks until Spring vacation.