Summer time and the living is easy – time for relaxing, heading out at 5 on the dot, and enjoying a slower pace. Everyone needs, and deserves, some down time, and if your job allows for a relatively relaxing summer take advantage. But, the summer months are also a great time to knock out a few of those professional activities you never seem to find time for the rest of the year. So, this season, check these five career-related things off your list!
#1: Liven Up Your LinkedIn
LinkedIn is increasingly the primary way that employers are sourcing and inviting candidates to apply for positions – so go to where the recruiters are. Working on your resume is good and necessary, but also working on your online presence is a key part of your professional image (and search if that’s where you’re at.) Have you (also) spent lunch hours watching YouTube videos? Swap that time for working on your LinkedIn profile, or learning how to create one.
When it comes to connecting with people you either know already, or just meet, give yourself a guideline to operate by. When meeting a professional you want to stay in touch with, be sure to connect on LinkedIn within 24 to 48 hours of meeting. This way – no one forgets where you met, and you don’t forget to connect.
Also – get yourself a fresh photo up there! Take advantage of the sun, the blooming flowers, and perhaps even a tan to get a refresh. It may even increase your profile views if your connections are seeing a nice new pic.
#2: Request a Review/Evaluation
Not many people like getting feedback, but hear me out. Depending on how your organization handles performance reviews or evaluations (or if this is even policy), summer is still a good time to check in about this. If you don’t normally have reviews, ask your supervisor to check in for a mid-year chat about the first part of the year, and your goals for the next half. Ask for feedback and take any constructive criticisms as ways to improve and impress leadership.
If your organization does have annual performance reviews, now is a good time for you to revisit your goals (or hey, set some) and finish out the rest of the year on a high. With this move, you can review your strengths and weaknesses, and determine where you want to focus. Taking the time to refocus through performance reviews and goal setting will not only help you professionally, but – BONUS – you will look like a motivated rockstar to your supervisor!
#3: Take Lunch to Learn
Perhaps summer means longer lunches on the patio with a bit more relaxed workday. This is a great time to use some of those lunches to set up meetings with a few professional contacts. Make a goal for yourself each month – how many folks do you want to connect with? Whether you’re considering a change, doing some light exploring, or trying to move up in your industry, informational interviews are the most effective way of learning and getting a leg up on the competition. Identify those in your dream companies, or those in roles you aspire to – but either way, get out there and meet people!
#4: Revisit Your Priorities
Now is a good time to take a step back and check in with yourself. Is your current professional situation meeting your priorities? What are your priorities – do you know and have they changed over time? Often we get so caught up in the day-to-day – and life happens – that we stop and find ourselves wondering how we got to the place we are. Try this: think about your past professional experiences and your current one. What things about those were most important to you? When you were most successful and flourishing, what were the conditions like? These are your priorities. Are they either present or missing in your current role?
If you find your situation is lacking in some areas for you to continually succeed, what can you start planning for now? This is a good time to start getting an action plan together.
Relaxing is just as important as anything else in your career success and development. When you re-center yourself it brings everything else into perspective. If you’re feeling burned out (for whatever reason), try to take time here and there for yourself to clear your mind and not be focused on a to-do list. Take your lunch break outside for a walk, stretch, read, journal, or chat with a friend about anything besides what you have to do. Finding time to relax doesn’t have to be in a planned vacation – which is often stressful! Finding time to get away, even if for a few minutes, helps to refocus your efforts and clarifies goals and priorities.