Allison Cheston, Career Connector


Career Connector Blog

How College Students Can Make the Most of Winter Break

Lake Forest College Daily, Jan 13

Lake Forest College Daily, Jan 13

Winter break is a great time for college students to explore their interests and do some advance career planning. While it’s a busy time socially, many schools offer an extended break that gives students a month or so of real vacation time. Consider spending part of the month doing something with long-term benefits and make some inroads into your career planning. Here are some ideas for making the holiday break count.

Take a Class
Many universities have gotten smart about offering a January term with pre-professional classes and intensives to get students thinking about their career plans. Here are some ideas in NYC and environs:

For college students and new grads looking for a fun, engaging workshop to help think through career ideas and learn how to develop a dynamic job search marketing campaign, I’m teaching a 2-session workshop in Westchester this January.

NYU hosts a January term, offering a number of intensives in various fields, as well as one-off courses, that fit into most college January schedules:

CUNY also has a complete list of very nuts and bolts business classes offered in January:

Get a Job
This may be obvious to many people, but with the holiday season in full swing there are plenty of short-term jobs available to college students, especially in retail and hospitality. Work in a department store, bus tables, help in your cousin’s boutique—it’s a good way to make some money and, if you work on connecting with customers, a way to make some contacts. Don’t forget that adults take a special interest in college students, especially if they themselves are parents, so don’t hesitate to engage friendly customers in career discussions where appropriate.

Find an Internship
You don’t have a lot of time, but this short season gives you enough time to work on a project, especially if you have an existing relationship with the organization. Students are especially needed for short-term writing, editing, social media and event planning gigs, so start thinking about who you know who might have some work for you. Cultural and mission-based organizations can be good targets. Or try contacting temp agencies to see if they have short projects in need of an English or business major. With holiday parties and year-end planning many organizations could use some extra, inexpensive help.

Find a Volunteer Opportunity
The holidays are the busiest time for non-profit agencies and they all need good volunteers, even on a short-term basis. Try contacting the bigger agencies first, like New York Cares, and clearing houses like the Mayor’s Office.

Get a Jump on Finding your Summer Internship
Prime application time for summer internship programs is between mid-January and the end of March. Now is the time to conduct research and start reaching out to potential employers. Brainstorm with friends and family over the holidays to begin narrowing down your ideas for what you might do next summer. When you return to school, go to the Career Center and talk with a counselor about your interest and see if you can meet some alumni in the field. Once you get back to school you’ll get busy again –so avoid that March panic and get prepared now.


College students and mid-career professionals: I’m offering two workshops in January to help you launch or reimagine your career, providing you all the tools to market and promote yourself effectively. Details here:

Job Search Bootcamp for Millenials
Date: January 8 and 15, 2015
Time: 12:30 – 2:00 pm
Location: Center for Continuing Education, Mamaroneck

Reboot Your Career: Position Yourself for Success at Your Company, Discover a New Role or Get Back Your Mojo
Date: January 30, 2015
Time: 1:00 – 4:00 pm
Location: Center for Continuing Education, Mamaroneck