7 ways to take charge of your career this summer

Would you like to be that person who comes back to the office in September, re-energised, revitalised and raring to go?

With the deluge we had yesterday, it may not seem like it, but summer is finally upon us. With schools having broken up, news feeds filled with staycation pictures, and the occasional heatwave, summer is the perfect time to take control of your career and get it back on track.

In January it’s likely that you’d created all these plans for what you were going to achieve over the course of the year, and like most people, you’ve fallen short of your expectations. With many people on annual leave, and the office quietening down, summer is a great time to re-evaluate your goals, see how far you’ve come and make the impact you want in the workplace.

And we’ve seven easy steps to help you do this, so look no further!

1. Take a step back

Summer is all about resting and relaxation, and you should be getting involved as well! Even if you are not going on holiday, have a weekend with an unplugged phone and turn your notifications and email alerts off, so you can spend some quality time on yourself. Social media can wait just that little while longer.

With rest and relaxation known to improve your productivity, motivation, focus, immunity and mental health (along with a whole host of other benefits!) there’s no reason to not have an excuse to rest once in a while. 

2. Review your year so far

What have you accomplished in the first half of the year? Focus primarily on the positives, and celebrate the wins you’ve had and the goals you’ve achieved.

And I mean, really celebrate them. Have dinner with friends, go on a day trip to the beach, book yourself in for a spa day - whatever makes you happy - but be sure to acknowledge that your treat is for all your triumphs this year.

Once you’ve celebrated, you can then look at what you need to work on and what you need to do to get yourself back on track so that you accomplish all you set out to at the beginning of the year. 

3. Where are the gaps in your skills and knowledge?

As well as thinking about the rest of 2021, you can also start to consider your career how you are going to move it forward over the long term. 

With that in mind, where do you want to be in the next one, two or three years? Do you want to be in a leadership or management role? Do you want to be in a new job? Do you want to work in a new industry? 

Considering the rest of 2021 and what you want to achieve in your career in the future, where do you need to learn more? What experience do you need now to get to where you need to be further down the road? What skills and knowledge are you missing?

4. Set goals

Now that you’ve defined your career landscape, you can start to create goals for yourself so that your 2021 couldn’t end any more positively. 

If they are still relevant, these goals should include the ones you set for yourself in January that you haven’t yet accomplished, as well as ones that will help you move forward and get your 2022 off to a flying start. 

What is success going to look like by the end of the year?

By what date are you going to have accomplished certain goals?

How are you going to achieve these goals?

What further training, development and experience are you going to need to achieve them?

Remember to make SMART goals, that is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely so you are more likely to stick to them. 

You can then give yourself a step-by-step guide of the actions needed to reach your goals – including timescales against each action. Plan out your short term goal first, and break this down into smaller steps so you know what you want to achieve at each stage. You can then add new actions as you progress.

5. Update your digital brand

Now that you know how to get your career back on track and what the rest of 2021 is going to look like, you can update your digital brand accordingly. On LinkedIn or personal blog posts if you have a website, write an article about what you’ve learnt from the year so far and what you are looking forward to working on next.

Update your social media with any new projects you’ve worked on, accomplishments to celebrate, and knowledge and skills that you’ve developed. 

Is your LinkedIn bio out of date? Now’s the time to fix it. 

6. Invest in your network

Will others be able to help you accomplish your goals in the upcoming period? If so, who do you need to speak to and what help would you like them to give?

At this early stage, it might be a matter of re-connecting with people, finding out how they are getting on and creating a conversation so you can ask a favour further down the line. During summer, people often have more time, so make the most of it by asking to meet for coffee or lunch, and enjoying the general chit-chat as well. 

Investing in your network might also involve discovering new connections, whether that’s wanting to find out more about an industry, job role, or company.

7. Invest in yourself

With gaps in your knowledge, what do you need to learn? Summer is the perfect time to get some reading done, watch some TED talks or invest in an online course. 

Where will your summer take you? Let us know in the comments below.