Do you have a case of the Mondays this morning? Break out of the Monday morning blues by making some time in your schedule for your own career development. Creating your own career development routine is a great way to focus on yourself (which many of us have a tough time doing) and to prepare yourself for the future. Your future may mean a new role at your current company, a promotion, a new job at another company or a completely different career path. Whatever your future may be, start preparing for it now.
So here is my recommendation to you. Take 10 minutes a week, which we can all do, for this little routine.
- Set your goals – expanded role, promotion, new job or permanent role. Once you focus on what you want, think through a plan on how to get there and start a list of all the important things you need to do to prepare for it. If it’s a promotion, start scheduling some time with mentors and your manager. If it’s a new job, start your list of updates needed: LinkedIn, Resume, Cover Letter, etc.
- Get out there – and by “there” I mean get on social media. There is a wealth of information to prepare you and a vast network to help you. The peanut butter and jelly for professional development? LinkedIn is your peanut butter and Twitter is your jelly. Use LinkedIn more than you already do. Actually do what everyone says you should do – add a profile pic and update your information. But don’t stop there. Scan the newsfeed on it. Its not just articles about editing resumes or how to interview well. You can find out articles on public speaking, building presentations, market data, weight loss, nutrition, work-life balance, everything under the sun. LinkedIn has INfluencers – well-accomplished and respected individuals that write articles for their followers. All these resources in just this one site provide such a wealth of professional development opportunities. Let’s not forget Twitter. Get on Twitter. Twitter is valuable in so many ways, but that’s for another post.
- Start a career tracker. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy – even just a simple excel spreadsheet to record your milestones, achievements and accomplishments. Did you help your company save some money and come under budget? Record it – especially the dollar amount. Did you help generate revenue for your company in a new product or initiative? Record it – especially the dollar amount and percentage. Did you work through a project and had a really challenging time with the team? Record it – especially how you helped the team through the challenge. Spending a few minutes each week reflecting on your time at work and documenting your milestones will help you prepare for the future. If your company requires you to write a self-evaluation on your performance for the year, you already have a documented list of your accomplishments. If you want to start looking for a new role and need to update your resume, you already have the foundation for making those updates to your resume and preparing for interviews. And remember – the resume you want to prepare is one that highlights your achievement and accomplishments in addition to your job responsibilities.
- Reach out to your network. Your network could be former colleagues or managers, high school or college friends, family, etc. Embrace the power of your personal network to help you professionally. I know I’m not the first career genius to write an article about the importance of scheduling “coffee chats” or lunches. But if you already don’t have a solid routine of networking and keeping in touch with people – stop reading articles about the importance of networking (with the exception of this one. . .just finish it at least) and start sending out some emails and scheduling some catch-ups. I spoke to someone from college the other day. We hadn’t talked in 12 years, but we were on the phone for almost an hour. It was one of my favorite conversations of the week. We picked up right where we left off and discovered that we have an ability to work together in the future. It’s amazing what can happen from a ten-minute conversation.
So today is a new day and a new week. Think through your new career development routine and set some reminders in your calendar on a weekly basis for that small block of time. It only takes 10 minutes.
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