Summer is a great time for vacation, kicking back a bit and just enjoy the fruits of your labor. It’s also a good time to assess where you are in your career, where you want to be, and what you need to do in order to get there. It’s not heavy lifting, but it is heavy thinking.
So, what can you do during the summer to prepare for the year ahead while you enjoy the summer months? Here is a list of some “what” and “why”:
- Read a mix of fun stuff with self-instructional material – Catch up on the latest information about technology advances and new approaches in your job category. What’s the latest wave of solutions to issues in your field? Find out if you’re ahead or behind the skills you’ll need in the future.
- Join a regional association in your function. Make contact with peers and higher ups to find out what’s going on in your field. Which companies are expanding or consolidating? Where will the opportunities be over the next 1-2 years? Are you in the sweet spot of demand or in a periphery role?
- Take an on-line course to sharpen your current skills. You may want to learn a new set of practices or expand the capabilities in your function. Get a certification that can be acknowledged on your resume. A certificate shows a desire to improve performance through advanced knowledge.
- Give a call to old co-workers, bosses, and subordinates to catch up where they are and how they’re doing. It’s not a call for help or job search. It’s to stay in touch so if they need you or you need them at some point, you’re there for each other.
Now, during the summer, is the best time to catch up on the world around you and prepare to review your career plan and strategy. Why? Because after Labor Day the marketplace begins to heat up and you don’t know what the future will bring:
- Businesses that are expanding want to staff up in order to get a jump on new goals.
- Organizations are looking to fill open positions that have remained open but must be filled soon. Hiring managers don’t want to lose a staff slot.
- Employees that left during the summer need to be replaced so as not to lose the continuity and performance increases to date. No one wants shortfalls.
- Hiring managers will add staff when developing their budgets for next year. You want to be on their short list to contact as soon as budgets are approved
- Hiring managers that are increasing staff want to know who is available and interview them during the Fall. You will go into the “hot” file earlier than your competitors, so if there is an immediate opening you’re already there.
It’s better to prepare for the future when you have the time rather than try to catch up, only to find out your too late.
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