5 Career Success Tips for the Summer

By Linda L. Hardenstein

In Maria Shriver’s commencement address at USC she talks about being asked “what are you gonna do next?” as if what you’re doing now isn’t enough.  She suggests before hitting the fast forward button in your career or life, press the pause button and “take time out and figure out what is important to you, what you love.”

The slower pace of summer provides the perfect time to pause and give thought to your career. Whether you’re looking for a job or you’re gainfully employed these tips show you how to zero in on what’s important to you:

What Do You Want.  Life changes all the time, so do our wants.  While sitting at the beach, camping, vacationing or even working in your backyard garden, take some downtime to dream a little.  Go on a mental retreat and when you’re in a relaxed state, ask yourself “what do I really want from my work?”  See what comes up for you.

Make a Plan.  A good plan is essential to landing a job, getting a career or deciding how to be happier at work.  A well thought out plan keeps you focused and motivated so you can be successful without wasting a lot of time.  A survey of Yale’s graduating class in 1953 showed only 3% of graduates had specific, written goals for their future.  Twenty years later researchers polled the surviving members of the class and found that the 3% with goals had accumulated more personal financial wealth than the other 97%.  Want to be more successful?  Write down what you want to accomplish by the end of this year — to land a job, get a promotion, or to be happier at work.  Then write down how you’ll make it happen.

Get Current.  Have you ever met someone and they said, “Send me your resume”?  All of a sudden you’re burning the midnight oil or wasting precious time on a weekend to update or create your resume so you don’t miss out on an opportunity.  Creating a resume on the fly usually leads to typos and a rush job doesn’t usually translate into promoting yourself in the best light.  Whether employed or not, keep your resume updated. You never know when you’ll need it and making a list of your latest accomplishments is a good way to be prepared for your next performance evaluation if you’re employed.

Keep Learning.  In this fast-paced, ever-changing world you’ve got to keep your skills updated. Should you be learning a new technology (software, LinkedIn, etc.)?  Or a new skill (writing, communications, speed reading, etc.) to make yourself more marketable or successful at work?  Is it time to take advantage of a volunteer opportunity or leadership role that will increase your learning, your visibility, set you up for a promotion or enhance your resume?

Get Connected.  Statistics prove that most jobs (some say 60% or more) are found through networking.  Summer is the perfect time to review your network.  Who do you need to meet or to invite into your network?  Who is not as supportive as you’d like or drains your energy?  Who do you need to let go of so you can stay more positive about work or your career possibilities?

Taking a summer break to rejuvenate your career can set you up for focused action and successful results for the rest of this year.  I look forward to your comments on these tips.  And if I can help, contact me to apply for your complimentary Career Breakthrough Session.