Four Ways I Became a Competitive Candidate over Spring Break

Ahh…spring break, a time for relaxation! Finally!

I did relax over spring break, but I found some ways to make myself a more competitive job candidate as well. It’s that time of year when business students everywhere are hunting for internships or full-time jobs. We might as well use our free time to position ourselves for success, right? And these things were also kind of fun, if you’re a bit nerdy like me.

  1. Completed Excel Certification Training

Whitman offers all its students a FREE certification in Microsoft Excel. Why on earth would you not do this? The training only consists of about four hours of video and interactive learning. Once you pass enough practice exams, you can schedule your official test on campus. It’s actually that easy. I completed my training over winter break and started working on those practice tests over spring break. You might think you’re already an Excel expert, but have you ever heard of the CONCATENATE function? (If you have, you’re further ahead the curve than I was.)

  1. Created a Feedly

Feedly is a supercharged RSS reader. All you have to do is download it on your phone, make a free account, and then search for/add your favorite blogs and news sources. It swconcatenates (see what I did there?) all those stories and lets you scroll through the content you actually care about. It’s like being able to turn off select Twitter accounts so you only see the ones that interest you at that moment (My interests happen to be leadership, content/search engine marketing, and yoga). This is an amazing way to easily stay up to date on industry trends and news on the go. It will definitely make you seem much more engaged and interesting during job interviews!

  1. Set up/Refreshed my Google+ Profile

Poor Google+. It’s like the lost dog of the social media world. Or is it? Fun fact: Google owns Google+, so they can make it important even if nobody actually uses it regularly. This is why companies must have a Google+ profile if they want to do well in search engine rankings. I look at Google+ like a complement to my LinkedIn profile. I make my profile professional and share interesting articles and news related to my field (straight from my Feedly). That way, potential employers will see that I am social-media AND industry savvy.

  1. Started using Codecademy

For those of you who don’t know, Codecademy is a free platform where the average Joe Shmoe can learn the basics of computer code. I started the HTML/CSS course because I want to go into digital marketing. I figured I can’t walk into a job interview like, “What’s HTML?” But knowing the basics of how websites work is going to be valuable to anyone in any business field, because it’s literally everywhere. Am I going to be able to code and design full-fledged, beautiful websites after seven  hours of course material? No. But am I going to have the dialogue to work with people who can? Yes.

These are just a few ways to relax and become a competitive job candidate at the same time. My list is slightly marketing-focused, but I’m sure that there are even more options for students in finance, supply chain, and other concentrations as well. So go forth and be nerdy!