Career Planning

Advancing Your Career Over the Holidays: A Student's Guide

Rather than eating Christmas cookies on the couch, use this time to get ahead.
May 26, 2023
Lorem ipsum sit dolor et sua vous.

Winter break is just around the corner.

Rather than eating Christmas cookies on the couch, use this time to get ahead. Whether you're spending the holidays at home or taking a break from classes, there are numerous ways to invest in your professional growth during this time.

But first, here's why it's the best time to get ahead:

  1. Less competition—most people are taking a break from job searching.
  2. More networking opportunities—holiday parties aren't just about Christmas caroling. They're also a great way to learn about internships and job openings.
  3. Escape from the holiday chaos—let's face it: it'd be nice to have a distraction from a wish list and running into exes from your hometown.

So instead, you can:

Reflect on Your Career Goals

Before diving into any career-related activities, take some time to reflect on your career goals and aspirations. Consider what you want to achieve in the short and long term. Write out your perfect career and be as specific as possible, from the dream company to the job description, whether in person or remotely.  You're also 42% more likely to achieve your goals and dreams when you write them down regularly. 

Define Actionable Objectives

Now that you know what your dream career looks like, it's time to set clear, achievable career goals for the upcoming year. Create a roadmap outlining the necessary steps to reach those goals. Break your objectives into smaller, manageable tasks to stay motivated and on track.

Update Your Resume and LinkedIn Profile

One of the first steps in advancing your career during the holidays is to ensure your professional documents are current. Review your resume and LinkedIn profile, ensuring they reflect your most recent accomplishments, skills, and experiences. A polished online presence can attract potential employers or connections. Use these tips to makeover your LinkedIn.


Volunteering during the holidays can provide hands-on experience and demonstrate your commitment to your chosen field. Look for opportunities to contribute your skills and positively impact organizations or projects. Nonprofits always need volunteers to help with internal tasks, especially costly professionals specializing in finance and graphic design/marketing. 

Explore Freelancing Opportunities

Freelancing during the holidays can be an excellent way to gain practical experience and generate income. Consider offering your skills and services on freelance platforms such as UpworkFiverr, or Freelancer. Whether you're a writer, designer, programmer, or marketer, there are numerous freelance opportunities available. Want to dive into freelance? Learn more in our guide to gig work.

Seek Virtual Internships or Part-Time Work

Many companies offer virtual internships or part-time positions during the holiday season. Research opportunities related to your interest and apply for positions that align with your career goals. Gaining practical experience during this time can boost your resume and provide valuable insights into your chosen industry.

Skill Development

Use your holiday break to acquire new skills or improve existing ones. Online courses, webinars, and tutorials are readily available and can help you build expertise in areas relevant to your desired career path. Consider learning a new programming language, improving your communication skills, or exploring project management. 

And hey, if you're looking to build your transferrable skills, check out our externship labs, 4-week programs that will leave you with a brand new resume.


Networking is a critical aspect of career development. Use the holiday season to connect with professionals in your field through LinkedIn, virtual networking events, or alumni networks. Holiday events like fundraisers, community gatherings, and open houses offer great networking opportunities. Reach out for informational interviews or casual conversations to learn about their career journeys and gain valuable advice.

Create a Personal Brand

Your brand is how you present yourself to the professional world. Use the holiday break to refine your personal brand by crafting a compelling elevator pitch and creating a professional online presence. Your personal brand should reflect your unique strengths and values.

Research Companies and Industries

Take the time to research companies and industries that align with your career interests. Understanding market trends, company cultures, and job prospects will help you make informed decisions about your future career path.

Relax and Recharge

While advancing your career, it is essential to remember to prioritize self-care and relaxation during the holiday season. Balancing career development with rest is crucial for maintaining a healthy work-life balance and ensuring you return to your studies or job responsibilities feeling refreshed and motivated.

Advancing your career during the holidays as a student is an investment in your future success. By setting clear goals, acquiring new skills, networking, and exploring opportunities, you can make significant progress toward your career aspirations. Remember that balance is key, so take time to relax and enjoy the holiday season with your loved ones while taking proactive steps toward achieving your career goals.

Ready to get started?

Learn how externships can help your business and students prosper.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.