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Career Development Tips for a Productive Winter Break (Parents of 4th year students)

December 10, 2019
Parents of 4th Year Students

Dear Parents,

Winter break is such a relief for many college students after a semester packed full of coursework, participation in student organizations, and finals. During this very important break from these demands, students often begin to consider their future goals, and questions like these often begin to surface:

What career pathways exist for my major?

How can I get a competitive edge?

How do I improve my resume?

How do I network with career professionals?

Below are four ways that students can use winter break to feel empowered and help ease any stress related to the questions above:

4th Year Career Accelerator Bootcamp

If your son or daughter is struggling to decide what path to take after graduation, we are hosting at 4th Year Career Accelerator Bootcamp on Jan. 9 and 10 to support them in their career exploration process. This immersive two-day career bootcamp will be based on the principles of design thinking. This framework will enable them to define their personal career goals and help them feel more confident in the job search process. Students will leave the bootcamp armed with all the tools necessary for a confident, successful job search (including an updated resume), LinkedIn profile, cover letter, and job search strategy. On Thursday night, they will enjoy dinner in the Rotunda, accompanied by networking and etiquette training. Space is limited. We encourage students who are interested to register as soon as possible!

Resume Updates

Winter break is a great time for students to create or refresh their resumes, saving them time during the semester when classes start to pick back up. Our Hoos Career Guide provides ample information and is especially helpful to students who are completely new to creating a resume. Our resumes overview page, and resume samples page also provides helpful information and examples to help get them on the right track. Our Resume Myths episode from the new Work in Progress podcast helps clarify and debunk common misconceptions around resumes.

In addition to these resources, we have a new online resume review tool, VMock, which leverages data science, machine learning, and natural language processing to provide instant personalized feedback. When students upload their resume, the platform assesses components such as action verbs, format, and how well the five core competencies (analytical, communication, leadership, teamwork and initiative) are reflected in their document.

Learn a New Skill

Winter break can provide a great time for students to learn a new skill. The Career Center recently partnered with Coursera to provide free 100% online and self-paced courses. These courses include Fundamentals of Project Planning and Management, and Foundations of Business Strategy from our Career-Ready Collection, and Business Transformation with Google Cloud from the Google Collection. The Career Center and many other UVA offices also offer a wide variety of additional options throughout the year that we encourage each student to take advantage of!


Networking through informational interviews over break can help students expand their professional network and help them learn more about the different career options that may be of interest to them. The Virginia Alumni Mentoring (VAM) platform helps connect students directly with UVA alumni, and is an incredible resource for students exploring various career fields.

In addition to networking, students should not miss the upcoming Spring Job & Internship Fair on Jan. 29 and 30, which provides students a rare opportunity to speak directly with recruiters from over 100 corporations, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies.

We hope these resources will empower your student in the career exploration and job search process. For more personalized support students can always schedule a phone or in-person appointments throughout winter break (our office will be closed from Dec. 23-Jan. 1) by calling our office at 434-924-8900 or booking an appointment online via Handshake. When students return from break, they can also stop by Monday-Friday from 1-5 p.m. at our two drop-in locations (Newcomb Hall and 1515 University Ave.) for additional support.

On behalf of the UVA Career Center team, we wish you and your family a happy holiday season and look forward to welcoming your student back in the new year!


Everette Fortner
Associate Vice President of Career and Professional Development
University of Virginia Career Center