The days are long and hot, your colleagues are dreaming about their upcoming vacations, and a relaxed mood has taken over the office. Typically the summer months are a time for taking it easy, with extended lunches and escaping early on a Friday afternoon the norm. Now is the perfect time to stand out from the crowd by going against the grain. Rethink your approach and further your career this summer.
1) Sharpen your skills and boost your knowledge
Already have your vacation booked? Time away from the office can be used to your advantage as a period of reflection and learning. Spend time off reading industry-related books, studies, research, and journals. Get up to date on the latest developments in your field and arrive back in the office refreshed and full of knowledge as well as new ideas. By understanding your industry’s most recent advancements you will ensure relevancy, both in your conversations and your work.
Those long summer evenings are also the perfect time to learn something new. Taking an online course offers the perfect opportunity to brush up on or learn a new skill. There are countless online courses of varying lengths, so do your research in order to identify which topic will benefit you the most.
2) Identify your goals
While you are away from the office, look at your situation objectively. Are you happy with your achievements over the past year? What goals do you want to set for the year ahead? Is your career advancing the way you want it to? Writing about your career experiences will help you to become clearer about where you have been and where you aim to go in the future.
Look at where you stand in relation to achieving the goals you had set for yourself at the beginning of the year. If you are lagging behind on any of your goals, make a plan for how you can achieve them in the second half of the year.
3) Stay up to date online
Companies are still hiring in summer, so now is an ideal time to take stock of your online presence. Doublecheck that you are projecting the image you want to display. Go over your profiles with a fine toothcomb and align them with the image of success you are looking to portray. Making sure your online profiles are up to date will ensure you are clearly visible to headhunters and recruiters.
Looking for a new job? Take the time to update your resume. And even if you are not actively looking right now, you should always be open to new opportunities. Keeping your resume up to date will ensure that you are ready the moment that your dream job becomes available.
4) Network in the sunshine
The summer provides an optimal opportunity for networking. All those barbecues, dinners, golf games and summer weddings are the perfect chance for you to engage in informal networking. You could meet someone who knows of a great new job opening at their company or someone who would be the perfect new addition to your team. Do not let an opportunity for networking pass you by.
Attend industry events and conferences when the opportunity arises. Meeting people from other companies and hearing their stories will motivate you in your approach to your own business. Avoid letting yourself get stale and trapped in the cycle of doing things the way they have always been done. By getting out and about in your sector you will gain inspiration that you can share with your colleagues, that will then ripple out across your company.
5) Work smarter, not longer
As a senior manager or executive, it is essential to prioritize time away from work. Stress and overwork will reduce your effectiveness when you’re in the office. Stay at the top of your game by taking steps to work smarter, not longer. This way you will dodge the dreaded burnout that comes as a result of overwork.
Research shows that putting in excessive hours in the office can backfire. Get the most out of your office input by making sure you take regular breaks away from your computer. Ideally step away from your desk every hour and a half and give yourself a chance to reboot. You will then be able to return to your work with a fresh outlook and new focus. Going for a walk outside will also do wonders to recharge your batteries, especially if you have a park near your office that you can visit on your lunch break.
From networking to learning a new skill, keep your eye on what you want to achieve professionally and use your time wisely to get ahead in your career this summer. But remember, this doesn’t mean you need to miss out on enjoying some well-earned time off this season. The key is to work smarter, not harder, in order to achieve your objectives.