As warmer weather rolls in, there seems to be a collective sigh of relief: finally, after a seemingly endless winter, we can open our windows and clean out the dust and junk that’s accumulated over the colder months. This is the act of “spring cleaning,” which is common in the household—but what about in our careers?
We naturally slow down during winter, and as a result, so might our careers. Many of us fall off our networking tactics, let our LinkedIn profile fall quiet, and forget to cater to our skillsets and credentials. These aren’t greatly detrimental to our professional lives in the short-term, but if left unattended, can have a lasting effect in the long-run. So to prepare for the bustle of spring, when many emerge from their winter seclusion and begin amping up the competition, we propose starting a spring cleaning project—on your career!
Here are some steps you can take to get back in gear this season:
De-cluttering your resume
Whether you’re job searching or not, it’s important to keep your resume updated with your most recent and relevant information at all times. Every now and then, it can be helpful to return to it and add to, or alter, a few sections. However, while the idea that you must keep your resume strictly to one page at all costs is actually a common myth, it is important to keep your bullet points brief and concise, as well.
Therefore, this spring, you may find it helpful to remove any outdated information from your resume to free up valuable real estate for newly-acquired skills or experience. Tidying up and trimming down your credentials is an important regular practice, as it will give you more wiggle room to customize your CV each time you submit an application, giving you the opportunity to highlight your most relevant skills and experience pertaining to each position. This is especially important today, when resumes are becoming more creative and competitive than ever.
Organizing your contacts for better networking
While it’s always nice to let communication happen organically, sometimes it’s not very effective—especially in winter, when everyone is in a rush to get back to their warm, heated homes. However, it’s important to keep up with your contacts throughout your career in order to build mutually beneficial professional relationships, and one of the best ways to do so is to stay organized. Organizing your contacts into an Excel spreadsheet, for example, can help you log such things as contact information, date of last contact, etc. to ensure you never let too much time pass in-between connections.
Haven’t done this in a while? Networking is a necessary part of any career, so if you happen to have an aversion to it, take a look at our article “How To Network (When You Hate Doing It)” to get back on top of your networking game.
Polishing up your skills
When was the last time you improved a skill? It can be easy to withdraw during the winter and fall off our goals, but don’t let that habit continue through spring! Whether you could use some brushing up on a technical computer skill or something less tangible like communication, consider putting some effort into improving your abilities this season. Some great ways to do so include taking a class, attending a webinar, or even practicing your chosen skill with knowledgeable peers.
Sprucing up your online presence
It’s no secret anymore that hiring managers and recruiters are factoring your online presence into their overall image of you as a professional. This is where developing a neat, professional profile on LinkedIn is especially important; not only does it give you more visibility when recruiters search for talent online, it gives you a forum on which you can craft your very own personal brand. Aside from LinkedIn, finding creative ways to utilize other social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter can be helpful—so much so that we wrote an entire series of posts on them!