Ahh… Spring Break. That random week-long gap between New Years and Easter is upon us – and by us, I mean you, college students. This hiatus that breaks up the second semester offers the chance to fill up your calendar with all sorts of activities, from a few extra work shifts to a trip to Fort Lauderdale to a Netflix marathon on your parent’s couch. But for those of you who don’t have plans to binge on work, sunshine or TV, use this five-day break to get yourself together and ready for your career.
A few years ago, my colleague Rachel wrote a blog touching on a few ways you could do so, including meeting with professionals, certifications and networking events, all of which are still super relevant and definitely worth working on. But one thing I really took for granted was my portfolio. While your experience, your courses, your resume and (maybe even) your GPA have an impact on your next internship or first job, your portfolio speaks volumes!
It may not seem like a battle; after all, you have all the ‘stuff’ you need to compile a portfolio. And while that’s true, I can promise you when a potential employer asks for your portfolio and you have nothing prepared, you will not enjoy going through four years’ worth of your sent mail looking for assignments you once submitted to your professor. Or, even worse, you no longer have access to them.
Your portfolio speaks to who you are. It’s your own work – your creative representation of you. It’s not a title, a reference or a number. Plus, there’s a good chance you’ve received feedback from a former employer or a professor, so you can utilize the advice from a seasoned professional to make your work shine.
There are several ways you can spend your break, but if you have some spare time I truly urge you use it to prepare yourself for the future because you’re going to have to at some point anyway, and you will kick your own ass if it’s the day before an interview.