Wednesday, December 11, 2013

5 Things You Need to Do Over Intersession

We know what you're thinking, "Intersession? Let me just curl up into a ball and disappear for 6 weeks" but HOLD ON don't do that... yet. First things first... 


So you have just spent 15 weeks busy with classes, clubs, side projects, and work, everything that makes college life a roller coaster. You may have put a couple things on the back burner, including eating, sleeping and basic hygiene. Something that probably also slipped in that "did-not-do" list is your career search. If you’re not actively looking for a co-op or job (and sometimes even when you are), it’s hard to fit it in your schedule, so intersession is the PERFECT time to do so. You may still have work and family to attend to, but chances are you have a lot more free time. Take this time to update your resume, LinkedIn profile (and join LinkedIn groups, including our own RIT Career Services one), set up a professional Twitter account, create/update your portfolio (or personal website), make a cover letter template that you can modify for different applications, and anything else you can think of. Also upload your resume to RIT Job Zone so that employers can look at it on their own accord and so that you can apply right from there. That way you can go into spring with everything fresh and ready to go.


During the holiday season there are A LOT of networking opportunities. There may be work holiday parties (even if it’s your part-time job, or maybe get your parents to invite you along to their office party), community events and much more. Can’t really find the opportune moment to network? You can at least practice networking at a regular family/friend gathering or possibly invite your neighbors over for some small casual get together. If you have a large extended family party, make it a point to talk to members of your family you don’t normally talk to or haven’t in a long time. If you and your friends are having a holiday get together, make it a goal to meet someone new or catch up with an old friend. The trick is to treat it as if you ARE networking (because in all actuality, making friends IS building your network). Ask questions that you would ask at a networking event like, “So what kind of work are you up to?” or “What have you been doing outside of work?” and maybe try some basic name dropping like “Have you heard from ____ in a while?” Have a good back and forth with someone at a semi-professional level (you don’t have to do that the WHOLE time but just try it out, because you are an adult now and it’s nice to have an adult conversation once in a while). 

Clothes Shopping

Many of you complain that you need a suit, or certain dress clothes for interviews/career fairs mainly because you don’t own anything like that. This is the perfect time to go out and get some nice clothes/accessories. During the holidays, plenty of places have great deals on dress clothes. On top of that, you can always as for nice clothes as a gift for the holidays (it’s a step up from getting socks).

Men think about getting:
  • A man’s suit (a normal 2 piece is fine or just a blazer)
  • New ties (that match different shirts)
  • Button up shirts (plain colors and patterns like striped or checkered)
  • Black and/or brown dress shoes
  • Black/Brown dress socks
  • A nice dress belt
  • A watch (optional)
  • A padfolio/business cards

Women think about getting:
  •  Nice button up shirts or blouses
  •  A Blazer
  • Nice skirt
  • Heels/nice flats
  • Cardigan/nice sweater
  • A woman’s suit
  • A padfolio/business cards

   Check out our “Dress for Success” Pinterest boards:

Plan NOW

Now you have everything in order, you just need to know what you’re getting yourself into. If you plan on attending the career fair in the spring for a co-op or a job after graduation, this is the time to start looking at potential employers and maybe connecting on LinkedIn/emailing them about your interest. If you’re not immediately looking for a co-op, at least plan when you are and get a handle on what you expect out of it (what kind of co-op you want, with what kind company and when?). This is also a time to set goals for yourself whether they are personal or specifically career related. Maybe by the end of intersession, learn how to use a new program, read 3 books, lose 10 pounds, get in touch with 3 recruiters, have a one-on-one with a manager, anything that will make YOU feel more actualized into the person YOU want to be. Personal and career goals are all intertwined because they affect each other, so plan achievable and practical goals.

Rest Up

Here's the tip you were hoping we'd say. You just fought through the trenches of RIT, battled some professors most likely, conquered finals… Now it’s time for a little R&R. To put it in perspective, the average college student gets about 6 hours of sleep a night (and maybe that’s a luxury for some of you). Studies have shown that getting 6 or less hours of sleep a night for a week straight affects your body the same as if you have gone without sleep for 48 hours (read more about that here: With this math, the majority of you are legally dead. Therefore, GET SOME SLEEP. You deserve it. Resting up also doesn't just mean sleep, but having some you time. Play some video games, watch some movies, or maybe go on a weekend trip somewhere. This rest for your mind and body is crucial for your success over intersession and it carries over into the spring as well.

If you do these 5 things over intersession, we guarantee that you will be successful not only in the spring, but for the summer and fall as well. If you do this now, everything along the way will be basic maintenance (small touch-ups here and there). We want you to succeed and, more importantly, for you to WANT to succeed. However, we don’t want this to consume your break, so make sure you also take a deep breath and smell the roses along the way. Make 2014 a good year by starting in a good place.

Written by Tom Weekes, student
RIT Office of Career Services

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