Canadians love to take advantage of the warm summer months, with longer days and endless activities, we know we only have it for so long… at least around here in Aurora, Ontario. Admittedly, career development isn’t at the top of my mind when I’m thinking about all the things I could be doing in my free time. But with a bit of creativity, you can keep it up, and still take advantage of what the summer months have to offer …you just need to find the right playlist for the season.
Here’s five things you can add to your playlist that won’t get in the way of a good time:
- Skill Development: Use the extra time to learn new skills or build existing ones. Take online courses, workshops, or participate in webinars relevant to your industry or desired career path. Consider soft skills like communication, leadership, or time management, as well as technical skills that will get you ahead in your career. At any given time, I’m usually enrolled in an asynchronous, online course that I can do at my own pace. Being able to work on a course any time, anywhere there is an internet connection, makes it so much easier to get done. Watching a video on a dock in a lounge chair isn’t a bad way to spend a couple of hours.
- Networking and Informational Interviews: Reach out to professionals in your field for informational interviews. Use platforms like LinkedIn to connect with people who have roles you aspire to or are working in companies of interest. Networking can provide valuable insights and potential job opportunities. We love our patios in the Greater Toronto Area; asking someone if they want to grab a quick after work is a pretty easy sell.
- LinkedIn Profile Update: Review and update your LinkedIn profile. Highlight any new accomplishments, projects, or skills you’ve acquired. Those short, online courses will give you lots to put on your profile. Ensure that your profile accurately reflect your current achievements and aspirations. Also, if you’re still using that bland, one-dimensional profile picture from 10 years ago, with a completely different hairstyle, pull out your phone and snap a selfie that shows your personality.
- Personal Projects and Side Hustles: Use the summer to work on personal projects or side hustles that align with your career goals. These projects can demonstrate your abilities, passion, and commitment to potential employers or clients. You may not think that restoring a 45-year-old motorcycle has much to do with my career path, but I can’t think of a better way of building distress tolerance skills.
- Mentorship or Coaching: Seek out a mentor or career coach who can guide you in your professional journey, or consider mentoring if you have something to offer people getting their feet wet in your field. Mentors can offer advice, provide constructive feedback, and help navigate career challenges more effectively. Many professional associations, alumni groups, and chambers of commerce, have formal and informal mentoring programs to get involved with. Hit up a patio, meat at a beach, or have a quick call while you’re both travelling. Keeping the momentum going makes mentoring successful.
By getting creative and spending some time on your career development during the slower summer season, you can position yourself for growth and advancement when things start to get busier later on in the year. Embrace the opportunity to invest in yourself and your career, as continuous improvement is what will make you succeed. This summer, add a few new tracks to your career development playlist and hit shuffle.
Brad Whitehorn – BA, CCDP is the Associate Director at CLSR Inc. He was thrown into the career development field headfirst after completing a Communications degree in 2005, and hasn’t looked back! Since then, Brad has worked on the development, implementation and certification for various career and personality assessments (including Personality Dimensions®), making sure that Career Development Practitioners get the right tools to best serve their clients.