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Ashley Jiao / Senior Staff Illustrator

Spring break should be a time to learn new skills and improve old ones.

It is hard to believe that spring break is just around the corner. For many of us, spring break is the time to see family and friends and to take a break from school and work. For some, it might be a chance to catch up on missed lectures. But for others, spring break is also the perfect time to put academics on hold and focus on preparing for your professional life. If that sounds exciting to you, here are some productive things you can do over spring break to prepare for life after college.

Polish and reflect on your résumé

When was the last time you updated your résumé? If you have not looked for internships for a while, it might be outdated. But, who has time to update a résumé in the thick of midterms? With school work on hold, spring break is the perfect time to update your résumé and improve your professional prospects.

Take a moment to look back at your recent professional growth. Are there any new projects you’ve been working on? Have you been promoted? Have you learned any new skills? Have you taken any interesting courses that might be relevant to your professional interests? Reflecting on questions like these will help keep your résumé up to date and can also help you see the bigger picture of where you are headed. Is your portfolio missing any skill you want to highlight? For more information on building your résumé, visit the CCE.

More importantly, you might want to think beyond your résumé. Update your LinkedIn profile and your bio on social media to attract more potential employers and expand your network. Make sure to check out LinkedIn Learning, a platform—similar to Skillshare—with videos on how to build your software, business, and creative skills. Not only will it help you spruce up your profile, but you might also pick up some skills you can use to flex on your résumé.

Practice your current skills

After updating your résumé, you also want to make sure that you are up to date on those skills you listed. Is there anything that you were particularly good at a few years ago and haven’t practiced in a while? If so, spring break is a good time to revisit and solidify your strengths.

Whether it is photography, a new language, or music, diverse skills can differentiate you from other job applicants or employees. You might also be able to create a portfolio to show off your work, which can make your applications even stronger.

Learn new skills

If you are feeling adventurous, you might want to start learning new skills. Although a five-day break is not a long time, there is still a lot you can do.

For quick classes, you can hop onto Leetcode, Brillant, or Duolingo—websites that teach various skills, such as coding, finance, or a new language. You can also start a free trial on Skillshare and learn photography, drawing, or video editing.

Even if the program you started cannot be completed in five days, it is still worth enrolling. Courses on Khan Academy, EdX, Coursera, Codecademy, or MasterClass can last weeks but can be very useful for learning a variety of subjects.

When signing up for these services, look at the length of their trial periods. If you plan to use the premium plan for free, the five-day break is the perfect time to maximize your benefits.

Apply for internships

Now that you have updated your résumé, practiced your current skills, and learned new ones, it’s the perfect time to apply for internships. Many summer and fall internships are still accepting applications. So, why not put your brand new résumé and skills to good use? You can find internships by searching through companies’ websites, going through LinkedIn suggestions under the “Jobs” tab, or using websites like LionSHARE and Indeed to input your preferences.

If you are not planning to intern this summer or fall, but are interested in interning next year, it might be a good idea to look for similar positions anyway, so you know what the requirements are and can be ready for the next round of applications.

All in all, spring break is a great time to take a break from school. Whether you decide to be productive and gain that edge in your professional life or take a much-needed recess from everything, we wish you a great spring break!

Staff writer Time is planning to have a productive spring break. He can be reached at Follow Spectator on Twitter @ColumbiaSpec.

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