Ah, summer. Time to hit the beach, go on vacation, BBQ in the yard (or fire escape, like my Brooklyn life) and work that...resume?
We don't often think about summertime as a primetime to figure out career moves. We tend to associate it with all the fun activities I mentioned earlier, plus one tan. Once fall comes around, we revisit those career goals/resolutions/wants – and we're joined by all the grads who had summer figured out and nothing more, the people looking for a new career after the shine of early Fridays and happy hour dulls out, and the people who panic about motivation when the back-to-school section opens in Target.
I remember every summer before I started my business; I would embrace the summer Fridays, leave work early, hit baseball games and drink rosé outside. And every fall I would panic about the work I didn’t do. Then it hit – while everyone was focusing on the sun, why don’t I focus SOME of my time on work? We get beach body ready for the summer, why don't we get career-ready for the fall?
Before you throw the rosé at me, hear me out. I'm a HUGE proponent of rest and avoiding burn out. Summer is MADE for that – it’s also an incredible time to figure things out BECAUSE so many people are in vacation mode. Think about it: wouldn't you rather use a little time in the summer to prep you for big moves in the fall, instead of hitting fall and feeling behind? Another beautiful thing about summer – everyone is a little happier and fun and fancy-free (blame vitamin D) so you can leisurely research, investigate and prepare without competing against everyone else. Here are a few ideas that you can work on while you work on your summer fun:
What's your goal?
What better way to brainstorm goals then while you are relaxed and happy? Think about what you'd like to accomplish with the rest of the year. It can be as big or as small as possible, just make sure it's something you really WANT and not just something you think you should do. Save the ‘shoulds’ for December and resolutions.
Write down 2-4 of those goals you'd like to accomplish in your career and then break them down into actionable, failure-free steps. Pretend you have everything you need to achieve these goals. If it's an interview with your dream job, great. If it's a new degree, awesome. If it's a chance meeting with Anna Wintour, fantastic. Whatever it is, don't let the doubt of 'this will never happen' get into your head. Everything is possible, and you can’t fail.
Polish yourself...and your resume
Staying in shape isn't just a summer thing. Professional and personal development shouldn't just happen when we're in hyper-focus and work mode. Use this time to pull out your resume, update your LinkedIn, or come up with a social media plan. Look at the community college or local college to see if there are any classes. Take a public speaking or an improv class for your presentation and speaking skills. Get some work headshots done – you already look happy and rested because it’s summer, why not have an incredible photo of yourself that you can use for more than just Instagram?
If step one is making you nervous, start with this step and get all of your sunglass-wearing ducks in a row. Once you get yourself ready and spend some time with yourself, revisit step one.
Reconnect in Fall
I've said three times THIS WEEK 'let's chat in the fall.' Some people use summer for work-life balance, and some use it for internal work. Don't get discouraged! Send your summer email, follow-up a few weeks after, and reconnect in fall. Wait until after Labor Day, and reference your summer email and ask if they have some time for a call, a coffee a quick question. And remember! Always thank the other person for their time, and be specific about what you are looking for. If you are using summer to find a new mentor, make sure you tell them that you want them to be your mentor.
Final thought: If you are burnt out – use summer for YOU and worry about your self-care. That’s just as, if not more, important than any job. Slay it.
Jen | Contributor