Schools are out, camps are open, and hours of beach-side reading beckon, making summer a perfect time to devote to your most valuable asset: you.
While it’s a great time to recharge and relax, it’s also a great time to take a big step back and think about your career. When was the last time you reflected on where you are professionally and what you bring to an organization or team? If you are still thinking, it’s been too long.
To help you make the most out of this summer career-wise, I invited a group of colleagues from across Citi to share their best career tip for the summer lull. Here’s what they suggest:
Go big and get noticed. “Dial it up in the summer while others kick back and you’ll truly distinguish yourself. It takes as much work to do something little as to do something big, so always do big things…and big things for next year get budgeted in summer this year.” – Jennifer Lindauer,@Lindauer_AdExec
Nail your elevator speech. “When you are thinking of how to describe yourself, think less about telling people exactly what you do and more about your unique point(s) of differentiation. So, rather than saying ‘I work in digital marketing for so-and-so,’ you could think of saying ‘I’m uniquely able to drive business results by successfully bridging the gaps between marketing, technology, and analytics.’ Just as brands have positioning statements that ground the consumer in their category and then seek to differentiate from competitors, you should too.” – Geoffrey Sanders
Smarten up. “Long summer days – especially summer Fridays – offer a great opportunity to find the time you never seem to have during the rest of the year. Take advantage of the slower summer pace and enroll in a professional development class. Or offer to create and lead a continuing education class for your company. Alternatively, you can take advantage of summer hours by spending more time with your networking groups or by joining a new one. I often use the slower days of summer to book catch-up lunches with old and new colleagues.” – Robin Kamen
Polish up and plan ahead. “Use the summer to polish up your resume and LinkedIn profile. Update your current job information to include your recent achievements. Then, take this time as an opportunity to think about how you want to shape the rest of your year. What are the next two or three resume bullets you’d like to be able to add to your resume? How can you accomplish those things in the next six months? Are there people in your network who you can connect with to help guide your progress or give you advice on how to accomplish your goals?” – Louis Cohen, @ProfCohen
Lend a hand. “Summer represents a great opportunity for mentorship. Take time to meet with the new grads joining your organization in full-time roles, but also the interns there just for the summer. Not only will you feel great about sharing your experience and helping fresh talent entering the workforce, you may actually learn more from them. So give some of your time – it will feel great and it will benefit you!” – Elyssa Gray
Make time to link out. “Take advantage of what will hopefully be a lighter load over the summer and make time for networking. Reconnect with a few people you have lost touch with and reach out to a few people you want to add to your network. Also, review and revamp your résumé. It could probably use some ‘spring cleaning.’” – Leigh Jacobson
Build bridges and cultivate allies. “My career advice for the summer would be to use any downtime to build bridges across the organization to cultivate allies, mentors and sponsors at all levels. Think of it as building your personal sales force.” – Heather Finn
Unwind and ponder. “Enjoy the weather and take the time to walk home from work, public transport, or just go for a stroll. Use the time to unwind and think through longer term strategies the crazy seasonal months don’t afford.” – Maja Lapcevic
Expand your reach. “Whether you’re at the beach, traveling, at a concert or even just dining out this summer, you’re likely to spend time with friends and family and meet new acquaintances too. While work hopefully isn’t the main focus of the discussion, it most likely will come up at some point. I use the opportunity to hear about what others do for a living and also share what I do. It is during these conversations that an occasional connection is made – ‘My sister has a similar role at another company’ or ‘You should speak with my colleague, he is trying to solve a comparable issue.’ They may not be direct ‘I have a job for you’ opportunities, but they are connections that can lead to valuable professional relationships.” – Paul Michaud