As the semester draws to close, most of you will be looking forward to a month of rest and relaxation at home. But the break between the fall and spring semesters is an opportune time to take a few simple steps that can help your career after graduation.
1. Ask your relatives and your parents’ friends for informational interviews. An informational interview is a conversation during which you can learn about a career field or particular company. Speaking with someone one-on-one about what he or she does every day is a great way to learn more about what a job is really like. And while an informational is not an actual job interview, it is not an informal setting. You should behave professionally and come prepared with thoughtful questions. The UD alumni network and friends that have already graduated are also great resources for informational interviews.
2. Research internships—know the deadlines and use your time off to work on your resume and cover letter. Not only will an internship provide you with hands-on experience that can help you land a job after graduation, but it can also show the kind of day-to-day experience you can expect in a particular field. Internships are an important step in the discernment process—you might leave an internship knowing exactly what you don’t want to do.
3. Get your applications for summer REUs ready. If you are a science major, research is crucial to your success. The best REUs are highly competitive and will require a thoughtful application. Spend your semester break researching REUs and preparing your application.
4. Check OPCD’s Prestigious Scholarships and Fellowships page to see if you qualify for any opportunities. Use the break to gather letters of recommendation and work on your personal statement. Gaby Martin at the OPCD can guide you through the application process.
5. Look for long-term volunteer opportunities for the spring or summer semester. Not only will you be giving back to the community, you can gain experience that many employers will value. You may even be able to receive course credit for approved community service.
6. Explore avenues to present your work to the public if you’ve written an exceptional paper or conducted in-depth research in your field. This could mean making a presentation during a campus event or sharing your work with an organization tied to your area of research. Many scientific, literary, and educational societies welcome student participation. You can apply for aUniversity of Dallas Experience Award funding to offset your travel expenses.
7. Visit our office after the New Year and before the semester starts. We can help you fine-tune your resume and cover letter, research internship opportunities, and apply for prestigious scholarships and fellowships. Make time now, before your new classes begin.