Take these simple steps to get ahead in your professional development goals for 2022.

women walking down city street while it snows
Photo by Joseph Pearson on Unsplash


After the sprint to the end of the fall semester, winter break is an important time for relaxation, rest, and recreation. This fall brought many new challenges of navigating education and professional development in-person and remotely, so it is especially important to plan for a restful break this year. Nonetheless, this winter break can also offer us an opportunity to reflect on our goals and priorities, and to get back to tasks we may have deprioritized amidst the semester’s many demands.

If you would like to spend some of your winter break deepening your skills, exploring career options, or planning for the future, GradPro has many tools and resources to support your efforts. 

Set goals and plan for 2022 and beyond

  • Creating an Individual Development Plan (IDP) is a great way to set goals for academic milestones, skill development, career planning, and personal growth. Download the IDP template here. Schedule an individual consultation with GradPro to discuss your IDP or get help creating one.
  • Use a career exploration tool like ImaginePhD (for humanities and social science grad students) or MyIDP (for STEM students) to take self-assessments, explore career options, and set goals.
  • Consider joining one of GradPro’s Check-in Groups for the Spring, where you will meet weekly with small groups of fellow graduate students to support each other in setting and meeting goals. Registration will open in January; subscribe to the GradPro Digest for announcements.
  • Unsure what career paths you’d like to explore, or how to conduct an academic or non-academic job search? Want to update your resume or get feedback on a cover letter? For individualized support on these important questions and more, make an appointment with one of the Career Center’s dedicated PhD counselors.

 Practice networking and informational interviewing

Use the break for skill-building

  • While it’s nice to take a break from courses, there are many tools available to continue learning new skills during the winter break. All students have access to LinkedIn learning, where you can find courses of various lengths to develop a new skill set, from project management, to social media marketing, to Photoshop.
  • edX offers free courses from universities like MIT and Harvard, on subjects including data science, languages, business, and more.
  • Check out webinars from the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity (activate your free membership here), like “Every Semester Needs a Plan,” “Mastering Academic Time Management,” and “The Art of Saying No.”

While winter break is a time for a well-earned rest, it can also be an important time to evaluate priorities, complete forgotten tasks, and continue your professional development. Taking any of these steps can be a great way to boost progress towards achieving your professional development goals.