3 Ways Students Can Practice Career Skills During The Holidays

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You did it, you made it to winter break!

Now that the semester’s over, you finally have the time for some well-deserved fun and R&R. And while it might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the holiday season, the winter break is also a great time for personal development. From preparing a shopping budget to making small talk at parties, the holidays offer a host of opportunities to work on the soft skills you’ll need for your future.

Here are some easy ways to build your career skills over the holiday break!

Strategic Planning: Saving Money

With the increasing price of tuition, books, residency, and food plans in recent years, being a student can certainly take a toll on your bank account. Unfortunately, the winter holidays only make things worse. Presents to buy, nights out with friends – the costs can certainly add up!

This year, take advantage of this season by working on your strategic planning skills. Avoid impulsive last-minute spending and indecisiveness during shopping trips by creating a thorough list ahead of time. Write down the names of all the people you’d like to buy for and brainstorm ideas for their present in advance. To save some money, keep an eye on ongoing deals by searching the papers or by using Flipp, a popular mobile app that price-matches different flyers for you. Strategic planning is a great skill to have in both your personal and professional life, and the holidays are a good time to put your abilities into action.

Taking Initiative: Proactive Performance

What is one of the biggest differences between a good employee and an egg-ceptional one? Being proactive. Studies show that proactive individuals are always actively engaged and future-oriented in their thinking and actions – something that all employers want from their workforce. The 5 Key Behaviours (known as the 5 P’s) to being a proactive professional at work are:

  • Predicting potential needs by understanding patterns
  • Preventing issues by taking control
  • Planning for the future by avoiding “present-only” thinking and anticipating long-term
  • Participating with group efforts to reach solutions
  • Performing the work now to dodge chances of the procrastination

Having just finished exams, you’re likely going to want to lay around and catch up on the latest episodes of your fave TV show. However, in addition to your relaxation time, you could also use the holidays to practice being more proactive. For example, you could help your parents out with the holiday dinner by planning the menu. Make it a habit to be proactive in all areas of your life – it will benefit you greatly in your career, and there’s no time like the present to start working on this key skill.

Confidence: Responding With Clarity

The holidays are all about spending time with friends and family. But all those dinners and get-togethers also gives your relatives plenty of opportunities to grill you about school and your future plans. While these conversations can be awkward, there’s a simple trick for managing the stress: crafting an elevator pitch.

The elevator pitch is commonly used by sales professionals who want to quickly and clearly explain a product or service, but it’s also an effective tool for all types of professionals who want to learn how to communicate their personal experiences, accomplishments, and goals more efficiently. For example, creating a pitch to answer a common question like “What do you plan to do after graduation?” will save you the stress of coming up with a response on the spot and help you speak with confidence and clarity.

What are some other times you practice career skills outside of school? Let us know in the comments below!

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