4 Strategies to Advance Your Career this Summer
The long, lazy days of summer can make even the most dedicated workers, well, lazy. It’s easy to dream of escaping to the beach, mountains, or lakes. But before you pack your bags, take some time to think about your current job, this year’s goals, and how they fit into your long-term career plans.
While it’s easy to put off this kind of self-reflection, the slow summer days provide a great opportunity to do some professional fine-tuning. As work projects begin to slow down and the office becomes a bit less hectic, consider using any newfound time to check-in with your career.
Here are four ways you can take advantage of the summer slowdown to invest in yourself and make progress on your career goals.
1. Take time to review
Summer is the perfect time to check-in with your goals. Where do you stand now that the year is halfway over? Are you on track to accomplish the goals you set for yourself? If not, what’s holding you back? We all know how easy it is to lose track of time during the first half of the year. But instead of waiting until December to re-evaluate, use your summer down time for a mid-year review.
It’s no secret that highly successful people set specific and measurable targets, so take some time to review your goals and make sure they’re still relevant. Consider short-term as well as long-term career goals and develop benchmarks that are achievable. If you need to do something differently, summer is a great time to make a change that will set you up for success down the road.
2. Identify the gaps
Now that you’ve examined and prioritized your goals, it’s time to consider what skills or qualities you need to get there. With technology changing faster than the ocean tides, it can be a challenge to keep up with the technical knowledge required to advance your career. In order to achieve your long-term goals, determine what kind of specialized skills you’ll need and plan for how you’ll achieve them.
Do you need to expand your cybersecurity skills or develop agile project management experience? Maybe you’ll want to pursue an advanced certification or learn a top paying tech skill. Or perhaps your goal is to move into a leadership position. Do you have the soft skills necessary to lead a team? Use the decrease in staff coverage during the summer months as a chance to step up and take on extra responsibilities while co-workers are on vacation. You’ll have the opportunity to see how you perform in different jobs without all the pressure, and you can identify what skills and abilities you still need to develop.
3. Get out and network
Summer offers an abundance of great activities and events. So, instead of sitting behind your computer, get out from behind your screen and meet people face-to-face. Developing new professional connections can be a great way to expand your network, meet people in similar careers, and keep up on industry trends and hot topics. Summer also offer activities and social events other seasons don’t, such as free outdoor concerts, fun sporting events, and summer festivals. With a less chaotic work schedule during the day, you’re more likely to have the time and energy to hit up that evening networking event or happy hour.
If large networking events aren’t your scene, consider reaching out to contacts or people you’d like to get to know and schedule informational interviews. A lighter summer schedule should allow you more time to grab coffee with your old co-worker or meet with someone you admire to pick their brain on making a career move. If all goes well, you’ll leave with a new professional connection and some valuable info that will help you advance your career.
4. Take a break
Summer is a time to relax and recharge, so don’t forget to take a break and set aside some time away from work. While it can be difficult to step away from your job for a week or even a day, rest and rejuvenation are important to long-term success. Use the slower summer season to take a step back and enjoy time with family and friends.
We all know how hard it is to really disconnect, but without a break, you’re setting yourself up for burnout. Instead, turn off your phone, let work projects go, and enjoy some summertime fun. When fall rolls around, you’ll be well-rested and ready to get back to work with a renewed sense of the goals that will help you advance your career.
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