It’s Time for a Mid-Year Career Refresh
My article was originally posted on Medium.
My grandparents were faithful Christmas Club savers at their local bank. Starting in July, they would deposit money in a special account each month, so they could have savings ready to go for the holidays. While many retailers are now having Christmas in July sales, it’s also a good time to take this halfway point in the calendar year to take stock of your career and assess how you want to make an impact over the next 6 months, and beyond.
Here are some “deposits” you can make over the next six months to ensure you enjoy your career and love your life.
Prioritize Reflection Time – summer is a great time to reflect and ponder about what you really want in life and career. Is your career satisfying, engaging, and allowing you to play to your strengths? Are you with an organization where there is a clear growth trajectory, and does your company honor you with professional development opportunities? Are you sacrificing your long-term career by staying in a job out of loyalty, or feeling comfortable? Are you overworking and under-remunerated? These are great questions to muse as you sit by the pool, relax in a hammock, or travel to your vacation destination.
Polish Your Online Presence – today, the first thing recruiters and hiring managers do is check your LinkedIn presence. Use the summer months to get your resume/cv into shape and freshen your LinkedIn profile to ensure that you are perceived in a way that is accurate and up-to-date. Always consider your job growth or exit strategy, so you can maintain control of your career future and be ready for the unexpected right sizing, or advancement opportunity. Solicit at least 3 new LinkedIn recommendations from people who know your work and can showcase your value to others. With over 900 million global members, LinkedIn is an essential tool you must keep fresh to optimize it wisely.
Revisit Your Goals – whether your goals are personal, professional, or both – take the time to revisit your aspirations and create accountability check-ins to ensure you are moving forward. Most people get overwhelmed with big goals and lose momentum because they expect instant results. Be realistic and design small, incremental actions that you can accomplish and celebrate as you work towards the big goal. Tell others to make your goals public and find a trusted accountability partner to help keep you on track and give you that gentle kick when you get stuck. If you aspire to advance in the organization where you work now, tell your boss, and bring them onboard as a co-conspirator to empower your end goal.
Create Your Professional Buzz – the summer is an ideal time to do a brand audit. How do others perceive you? Conduct an informal survey by asking people you trust to share how they perceive you, what you are known for doing well, and what blind spots may be halting your progress. If the information you gather does not align how you want to be perceived, create your fresh brand narrative, and start walking the talk with your actions and behaviors. The most important question to ask is: What do they say about me when I am not in the room? You can develop this narrative to create the buzz you want others to know about you.
Book Your Professional Development – many organizations begin a new fiscal year in July, so it’s a smart time to ask for professional development that will enable you to learn new skills and develop competencies that will help you and your organization. Perhaps you have always wanted to work with a professional coach. Or, you have your eye on a certification or credential that will distinguish you in your industry. Have the conversation with your boss and ask for financial support since your professional development is an investment in you and the organization. Always consider the business case and define the return on investment of your professional development with your employer.
The lazy days of summer need not be completely lazy at all. In fact, if you want to build your life and career in meaningful ways, you can’t be lazy. This time can be essential to recharge, reignite, and refresh your emotional and physical wellness. It’s also a great time to prepare for what’s coming, so you can end the calendar year strong and design your career destiny, so it doesn’t happen by default.