7 ways to advance your career without ruining your summer plans

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If you belong to an industry where operations slowdown in summer, resist the temptation of slowing down as well. Yes, you should enjoy the temporary lull and take advantage of the great weather, but don’t waste the opportunity to further your career during this period.

There are several ways you can do this without having to ditch your plans of going camping, traveling or sunbathing this summer. These are activities that take a little of your time but pay off in a big way. Here are some of them:

  1. Volunteer and network

    Summer is a great season to volunteer and network. There are many events in the city, plus everyone’s out and about because of the great weather. By volunteering, you get a free pass to events you can enjoy. At the same time, you hone your conversational skills and pick up new ones like leadership, planning and organizing, teamwork, even time management. Aside from these skills, you also gain new contacts and friends.

    Look for opportunities within your organization first. Your office may be sponsoring an event, or running a new program you can be involved in. You can also volunteer in your neighbourhood. Check for announcements in your community centre, church or nearby school. Otherwise, check out Volunteer Manitoba, Winnipeg Harvest, and even your professional association.

  2. Take an online course

    There are so many online courses that you can take in the comfort of your bedroom. You just need a laptop and internet connection. Courses usually require 1-3 hours a day, even less. Many are for free. They can range from personality development to professional/skill building courses. They can even count toward your PD (professional development) time.

  3. Fill-in for a vacationing co-worker

    Ask to fill-in for a position that you are aspiring for, or at least volunteer to accomplish some tasks while the person holding the position is on holiday. It’s an opportunity to show your boss that you’re ready for more responsibilities and that you’re serious about carving a progressive career path. It will also show great initiative on your part. Just make sure that you can handle the additional work and plan ahead so that you are able to accomplish your regular responsibilities.

  4. Read more

    Summer is a wonderful time to fulfill your reading list. You can read in the park, while on a long road trip, or while sunbathing near the beach. You can even enjoy the sights while going through a novel if you listen to an audio book. Reading is the best way to enrich your mind and improve your vocabulary (Read: Which is better – reading a book or listening to an audiobook? to know the real score).

  5. Refresh your resume

    Even if you don’t intend to move jobs, reviewing and updating your resume is a good exercise. It makes you aware of your achievements as well as shortcomings. While you’re at it, refresh your online profiles too. Update your skills, professional designations, seminars taken, and other career achievements. Someone might just notice your profile and offer you your dream job. You never know!

  6. Find a mentor or become a mentor

    If you are stuck in a rut and don’t know how to proceed, reach out to a mentor. It can be a person within your organization that can help you learn about industry-related skills and provide tips and inspiration. It can also be someone within your professional circles (you may meet one when you volunteer). Read Feeling lost in your career? Find a mentor! to learn about mentorship programs in Manitoba. However, if you wish to help out a fellow newcomer by sharing your experience, then become a mentor. You can ask your nearest Immigrant serving organization for opportunities, or apply to English Online’s Career e-Mentor program. It’s a great way of giving back.

  7. Set new goals

    Stop and take time to assess your career. Remember your career plan? Now is a good time to re-evaluate it. Think of new achievements you want to reach or skills you want to learn. They can be related to your job or for personal improvement. You may want to look into developing skills for public speaking, creative writing, leadership, or time management. You can also set small goals like committing to reading a certain number of books this year.

    Health-related goals are always good. You know that you can’t achieve career goals if your body is not up to it. Starting an exercise regimen in the summer that you can continue throughout winter would be a great idea. Remember to create your re-written career plan as a document so that you can have something concrete to review again next summer.

Sources: 4 ways to advance your career this summer, Jim Hopkinson, Salary.com; 5 ways to challenge yourself (and your career) without sacrificing happy hour, Kaitlyn Russell, themuse. Both accessed July 17, 2017.

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