Jingling and Mingling

Katelyn worked as editor-in-chief of The Bells newspaper, graphic designer for a Texas church, and magazine writer for Erica Vain. She just graduated from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in Belton, Texas, and currently resides in Houston, where she manages her own photography business and writes full-time for an international non-profit. Katelyn is passionate about sharing the gospel through words, art, and images and can be found via katelynholm.com

How to further your career during the holiday break

When you’re feeling about as stuffed as the stockings hanging from the fireplace mantle, the last thing on your mind is networking. Grandma is passing around yet another pie that you must somehow manage to cram in to your already-full stomach because, hey, you only Christmas once, right?

But while Dad polishes off the last of the turkey while nodding in approval of the delicious feast, you might want to shift your focus from the food to your future.

The holidays are a great time to meet new people, catch up with old people (literally) and discover job opportunities through your web of acquaintances.

So when that ONE aunt asks all those annoying questions that you just know she will nag you with, be prepared. Instead of answering all her questions with “fine,” tell her your goals. If you’re looking for an internship in the city, say so. Her connections could possibly score you an interview with her hairdresser’s cousin’s ex-boyfriend, who just happens to be a big-shot CEO. You never know.

And when your grandpa waddles over and plops down on the couch next to you, asking about potential marriage plans, don’t skirt the question, however tempting it may be. Instead, ask him where he met your grandma, when he got his first job, or how he became successful. Turn these terribly awkward, quite unnecessary questions into learning experiences. It will save you some embarrassment, and maybe even open a door for the future.

Another way to make the most of your winter break is to do research. Between seasons of whatever show you happen to be binge-watching this holiday season, take some time to look at job postings. Then, compile a list of possible opportunities in order of importance. When the New Year rolls around, you will have a priority list of where to apply first, giving you a head-start over other applicants.

You can also revamp your resume as a New Year’s resolution. Think about it this way: Picture yourself unwrapping yet another pair of socks that your sister-in-law disguised with pretty wrapping paper — Even though you may not have the most glamorous job experiences, you can make them look really good through the wording of your resume.

For example, instead of telling future employers you flipped burgers at McDonalds, list your responsibilities proudly: effectively met deadlines, executed excellent customer service, and worked well with a team.

Just the format and wording of a resume can make a difference in the application process, and Christmas is the perfect time to take another gander at your future job-searching inventory.

Between bites of sweet potatoes and games of family football, think about the people around you and how they might help you achieve your goals — even if your only goal is getting the last piece of pie.

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