A break from school — a time for relaxation and the sleep you missed during Fall and Spring semester. For most, the ideal break involves lying by the pool, fireplace, or beach. While it’s good to relax and rejuvenate, it’s also the perfect opportunity to get ahead on your career goals and exploration journey. Chapman offers many resources to students that allow you to maximize your educational journey while getting your degree.

Many people think that professional development can only be done by getting that job or internship, but that’s untrue. There are plenty of ways to gain valuable work experience, such as through online courses or certifications. In addition, it’s also the perfect time to connect with alumni, fellow students, the College Career Specialists within your respective schools, and our amazing Career Education team.

Refining Your Resume, Cover Letter, LinkedIn, and Other Pieces of your Career Tool-Kit

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One of the essential parts that come with your career exploration journey is the materials that can present everything you have accomplished. These include LinkedIn, online portfolios, YouTube channels, social media (including Instagram), and other innovative ways to show your work. But as is commonly known, resumes and cover letters are the most important and common documents in your job search process to have handy whenever you can apply for your dream job and internship.  

Because of this, breaks from school provide the perfect opportunity to refine and update your resume and cover letter with the accomplishments you were able to do during the school year. While many believe that the only things that can be put onto resumes are work and internship experience, this is not the truth. Throughout the school year, we often engage in research in our classes (both quantitative and qualitative) that has been assigned to us or independent research with the help of faculty advisors. Many skills and experiences acquired through research include analytical and reasoning skills. Employers appreciate knowing that their candidates are well-rounded and ready to complete tasks that require self-sufficiency and self-determination.

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In addition to research opportunities, leadership experience and other club involvements can strengthen your resume. While these positions are often unpaid, they provide a well-rounded experience where you can develop strong interpersonal and relatability skills with your peers. Chapman offers many opportunities to get involved with clubs, often leading to potential leadership roles. While all leadership positions come with career-related benefits and transferable skills, some of the most common roles students take within clubs include Social Media Manager, Secretary, External Relations, Alumni Relations, and most notably, President. In addition to resumes and cover letters, research and volunteer experiences can be put on your portfolios, which most commonly happens through LinkedIn by putting pictures or other examples of events or research you completed.  

If you need help knowing what a resume, cover letter, or portfolio website should look like, schedule an appointment with our career team on Handshake or stop by our office during drop-in hours!

Taking Online Courses or Getting Ready for Graduate School

While having a break from school during the summer and winter/spring break might mean that classes are out, many other opportunities are available to refine your skillsets outside and within your central learning area. In addition, a break from school provides the perfect opportunity to get started on preparing for graduate school or other paths after college that require entrance exams.

During this day and age, there are plenty of resources and online classes that allow you to build the desirable and on-demand skills that employers nowadays appreciate seeing, including understanding how to operate Excel, being knowledgeable of data analytics, and having an awareness of DEI and social problems facing society today. There are various of websites available, but I am going to highlight a few options that are available to you.

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Coursera allows learners to learn from top universities (e.g., Stanford and UPenn) in crucial areas, such as digital marketing, project marketing, and, as I mentioned above, data analytics. While some online courses come with a fee you have to pay, there are many affordable and sometimes zero-cost options!

Google Cloud

In addition to Coursera courses, there is also Google Cloud, which allows you to demonstrate ‘cloud’ (note: another fancy word for computing) skills that can easily be listed as one of your accomplishments on LinkedIn and your resume. As of March 1, 2023, over 345,000 individuals hold advanced technical Google Cloud certifications and technical credentials, so you can take advantage of plenty of options.

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In addition to online courses, a break from school provides the perfect opportunity to prepare for graduate school by prepping for entrance exams or other important exams that are needed after graduating from Chapman. With everything becoming electronic and online nowadays, you can take advantage of many options, such as Blueprint and Khan Academy. These resources provide online videos and courses to help you develop the skills and understanding to support you ace that test! I have been taking a virtual course through Blueprint to prepare myself for the LSAT. While the course has been challenging, it helped me ensure I feel ready to tackle the notoriously challenging test. Even if you don’t hope to attend law school, this website provides the perfect opportunity to prepare your skills, no matter your career goals!

If you want to learn more about these online class options and other ways to stay professionally active on your break, read our “Alternative Work Experiences” article written by our amazing Career Educators at our office.

Research Internships, Jobs, and Other Opportunities for the Fall and Spring Semesters

Finally, one of the most recommended things you can do during your career exploration process is to look around for an internship and jobs. There are plenty of resources out there that you can utilize, such as LinkedIn and Indeed. I may be a little biased, but I believe that Handshake is the best job search platform that you can use during your job search. This website allows both Chapman students and alumni to connect with employers and recruiters actively looking for you! You can refine your job search on the website by looking at specific industries and areas that best fit your needs. In addition, in some cases, you can chat directly with the recruiter who is looking to fill the position. This will allow you to make that personal connection that would help you stand out in the pool of applicants.

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There are also plenty of opportunities available to you at Chapman that you can take advantage of during the break. While students are not on campus, the career professionals throughout campus are hard at work, ensuring they can provide students with the tools and resources needed to succeed in their job search. At the Office of Career and Professional Development, students can meet with the amazing Career Educators Janelle and Lisa, who can help you with your job search process. They offer appointments, such as Career Exploration, Job and Internship Search, and once you find a job you want, help with evaluating your job offer and negotiation tips and tricks. If you would like more industry-specific help, dedicated Career Specialists around campus can connect you with industry leaders and give you the tips and tricks needed to succeed in your job search.

Schedule an appointment with any of these professionals today!

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