Home for the Holidays

By: Amber McCraw, Assistant Director of Career Services, School of Communications

As the holidays are approaching and the semester comes to a close, iMedia students will likely be traveling home for the holidays. A trip home usually results in friends and family questioning next steps and career plans. If you’re wondering how to handle those questions and make the most of your break, I’m here to help.

As an upcoming graduate, you are not expected to have it all figured it out just yet. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t start preparing to relieve some of the anxiety that ultimately comes with the job search. Here’s a short list of 3 things you can do to utilize your time off efficiently and answer those pesky questions from your well-meaning friends and family.

Make Lists: Maybe you need a focus for your job search. Start by making lists…cities you want to live in, companies you would like to work for, or industries you have an interest in. Not only will this give you a place to start, it will help clarify your interests and help you answer questions about location or interests. Once you’ve made those initial lists, you can delve further by noting contacts you have in each city or at each company to help you understand where your network is strong or lacking.

Set-Up Meetings: You’ve got your lists, so now it’s time to set-up some meetings. This will be easy if home is the place you want to be after graduation. If it’s not, consider spending a couple of days in the city or cities you would like to live in. Use LinkedIn to reach out to contacts (new and old) to set-up a meeting over coffee or hot chocolate. If you can’t visit the city of choice, use the time for a phone or Skype conversation. Your contacts are great people to ask about life in the new location, information about the company they work for, or insight into the position they hold.

Research: You’ve got some time off, so now is the time to sit down and research. Are your friends and family asking what kind of job you plan to have after graduation? Still not sure? Start looking at job descriptions and position titles to get a better idea of what will match your interests, needs, and skills. This will give you an idea of job titles to look for, typical job responsibilities, and skills/qualities required. Once you’ve done your research, you’ll have a few ideas to throw out when someone asks what you’ll be doing with your degree.

Take these few simple steps and use your break wisely. Hopefully, these tips will help you answer all of the questions that you can’t avoid.

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About Amber McCraw

Amber McCraw serves as a the Assistant Director of Career Services for the School of Communications. Previously, she served as a Career Advising fellow for the 2014-2015 academic year. Before arriving at Elon, she earned an M. Ed. in College Student Affairs Administration from the University of Georgia where she worked in Residence Life. Prior to UGA, Amber attended NC State, leaving with a B.S. in Business Administration and a B.A. in Psychology. As an advisor, she works with students from all majors to help them set and reach their career goals. This includes working with students to update their resumes, practice their interviewing skills, develop their professional brand via LinkedIn, and provide them with resources for the internship and job search.

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