11 ways to get ahead during the holidays

Make your holiday break really count this year. As you sip on hot cocoa and feast on festive snacks this month, make sure to find the time to do some strategic planning about your future and get ready for a successful 2018. Get ahead during the holidays by ticking off the following 11 things.

 

1. Use time off to talk to your family and friends

The people around you can offer a wealth of personal and professional support if you ask for it. Even if they don’t work in your specific industry, your extended family and friend network can still offer insight on how to be successful.

2. Start planning for summer 2018

The summer season isn’t far away. If you’re still in school, this is the chance to get some professional experience under your belt. Start looking into different internships or internship abroad programs. Check out start dates, costs of living, job locations and make a list of all your favorite opportunities with application deadlines. It might even be a good time to go ahead and get a head start on some of those applications.

3. Make note of your 2017 accomplishments

Don’t move onto 2018 without taking stock of everything you’ve done this year. What are you most proud of? How have you made strides in your professional life? What lessons have you learned? You can’t figure out where you’re going without realizing where you’ve been.

 

get ahead during the holidays

 

4. Set your 2018 goals (strategic planning)

First ask yourself, “What do I want to accomplish next year and in the next five years?” Then start thinking about what steps are the next steps you need to take to get yourself there. Make a big list of 2018 goals – personal, professional, whatever. Even if you feel that some aren’t realistic, write them down anyway. You can reevaluate as the year continues.

5. Search for internships or jobs in 2018

Don’t get behind on the next round of internship and job applications. Turning in these things early is always the best way to go. Make a master list of all the opportunities that most interest you and include their deadlines.

6. Journal about your options for next year

If you’re in a bit of a professional development crisis, it can feel like a desperate situation. But it’s important not to toil too much with these decisions. Try to write out how you feel about next year, what your hopes are and what options are available to you. Getting all of your anxieties, hopes and dreams out on paper can offer some peace of mind when the future is unclear.

 

get ahead during the holidays

 

7. Revisit your resume

The holiday break offers a great opportunity to really make your resume sparkle. Go over it with family members, add in any recent experience or education and think about what kind of internship experience you want to add in the future.

8. Get personal stuff done

During your time off, if you really want to get ahead, get some personal things done. Go to the dentist, get your hair cut, buy a new memory drive. Make a list of administrative tasks that you otherwise wouldn’t have the time to complete.

9. Create your professional website or portfolio

The holidays offer the perfect respite for sitting down and starting to put together a professional website or portfolio (or at least a LinkedIn account). Use your work-free days to get creative about how you’re marketing yourself professionally.

10. Give thanks

The holidays are an important time to be grateful for everything you have in this world and the opportunities you’ve been granted. It’s so vital to be gracious and have gratitude for people who have helped you achieve your accomplishments. Reach out to those who you think deserve a “thank you” for how they’ve supported you throughout the year. This could be a boss, supervisor, friend, colleague, family member or mentor.

11. Feed your mind

The holidays aren’t just a time for good eats. They’re also the opportunity to nourish your brain. Read that article you’ve bookmarked or watch that documentary you’ve been meaning to see. Challenge yourself to learn about something outside your studies or work. Expanding your knowledge of the world will also improve your overall opportunities.

 

Learn more about how to boost your career after you get ahead during the holidays!

 

 

Sources: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/253684

Photos:

1. based on An Irish Girl at the Christmas Market, by Mike Kniec, CC-by-2.0

2. based on 7/52 – ghosts in the night {life on pause}, by philhearing, CC-by-2.0

3. based on Smartphone Picture, by Reiner Girsch, CC-by-ND 2.0

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Elizabeth Trovall

After short stints in Argentina and Belize, Elizabeth is finishing up her fourth year in Santiago, Chile. Elizabeth writes about international internships, life abroad and professional development for The Intern Group. She also reports on politics, business and culture in Latin America for public radio and print media. An Austin, Texas native, Elizabeth first left home to earn her journalism degree from the Reynolds Institute of Journalism at the University of Missouri. Besides her friends and family, she misses live music and Mexican food the most.

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