Should College Seniors Plan to Spend Spring Break on Their Job Search?
That week off of school is a great chance to catch up on your job search — or start it, if you haven’t yet
Spring break is just around the corner, which means a lot of college seniors are pondering their options: Work on their job search or have a little fun before graduation? Or maybe combine the two with some “voluntourism”?
If you’re wondering what to do with your senior year spring break, here’s some advice from career specialists.
Starting late or finishing strong?
If you’re just getting started with your job search, you’re already behind the game, says Sharon D.D. Reid, assistant director of career services of The Milano School of International Affairs, Management & Urban Policy at The New School. “Most entry-level corporate/business and technology positions and management training programs recruit seniors in the fall,” she says. “During the spring, there might still be a few opportunities in business, but nonprofits and public sector employers could have more since their hiring tends to be ad hoc.”
Spring break might provide you with just the stretch of uninterrupted time you need to focus on your job search, says Tracy Ball, an academic and career counselor at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. “Searching for a job is a process and takes time. College seniors who are focused on completing their coursework often find it hard to add job searching to their busy academic and co-curricular schedules.” Check to see if the career center staff is available during the week of spring break.
If you haven’t already, clarify what types of jobs you're targeting and map out a week-by-week plan to land one by graduation time, says Maggie Graham of Career Design. “It's rarely the hare that wins the job-search race. The determined and focused turtle wins almost every time.”
Is ‘voluntourism’ the answer?
Some students use spring break as an opportunity to volunteer. “A week-long volunteer trip designed for college students is only interesting on a graduating senior's resume if the experience is clearly relevant to that student's personal narrative and career goals,” says Jamie Peretz, founder of 2MyCareer. “For example, volunteering at an archeological dig in Asia offers both future archaeologists and museum curators potentially valuable first-hand experience. However, that same trip offers virtually nothing to help build the experience, knowledge and resume of an aspiring financier.”
Reid agrees. “Don't rely on a one-time voluntourism experience to impress potential employers — if you want to demonstrate that you are an engaged member of society, focus on your ongoing community service where you are both applying knowledge and skills learned in school, and developing new skills transferrable to any work environment.”
If you do end up on a volunteer trip, it’s unlikely to swing a job offer one way or the other, Graham says. “It'll provide you with some amazing anecdotes for your interviews and possibly your cover letters. It can also give you guidance about the direction you want to head: geographically, nonprofit or corporate or socially responsible business, industry.”
As for partying hard on your spring break, Graham has some final words of warning: “We’ve all heard the stories about incriminating photos on social media.” If you're going to cut loose, be mindful of the photos that may end up online.
Monster Wants to Know: Is a job search part of your spring break plans? What do you have lined up? Share with us in the comment section.