Keep your career on the right track with this evaluation.
When was the last time you sat down and thought seriously about your career?
It’s not uncommon to get so caught up in your day-to-day work that you lose sight of your long-term career goals. Or perhaps your fast-paced career that has you traveling all the time has lost its appeal and it’s time to reassess your goals. Use the list below to give your career a mid-year check-up and make sure you’re on track.
Revisit your goals
What you desired at the beginning of your career – or perhaps only a year ago – may no longer hold true today. As our lives change, so do our career plans. Dedicate some time this week to reevaluate what leadership expert Jim Collins calls your Big Hairy Audacious Goals, or BHAGs.
Revise your action plan
Break your updated long-term goals into smaller milestones and actionable items you can pursue over the remaining six months of the year. If you imagine your BHAGs to be at the very top of a high staircase, consider this exercise to focus on the first few steps. What can you do over the next few months that will set the right foundation to pursue your goals in the years to come?
Update your brag sheet
Regardless of your work plans, it’s important to maintain an ongoing record of your professional accomplishments and major contributions. Pull out your brag sheet and take stock of the past six months – have you taken on any new responsibilities or projects, received great feedback from a customer, or a positive review from your boss? Add all that information in!
Monitor your online presence
In this day and age, you can expect prospective clients, employees and hiring managers to check out your online brand before deciding to work with you. Run a Google search for your name to see what pops up. Better yet, set up a Google News Alert for your name so you can regularly monitor your online brand. Use this opportunity to safeguard your personal accounts and update any outdated professional profiles to align with your current resume and career goals.
Learn something new
As Henry Ford says, “Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The great thing in life is to keep your mind young.” [tweet this] If you don’t want to become obsolete in your career, then it’s imperative to seek out new professional development opportunities. This could be as simple as registering for your industry’s annual conference, watching a relevant webinar, or optimizing your summer reading with a book that will help you to fill in a knowledge gap that’s holding you back.
Scope out the market
While you may be content with your current role, it never hurts to know what else is out there. The most successful professionals constantly keep an eye on the job market and their competition. Download free apps like Job Search by TheLadders and take a look at the open opportunities in your area. This is also a great way to research your market value before you negotiate your next raise or promotion.
Combine work and play
If your networking activities slumped since the weather improved, it’s time to turn things around. Use each block party, baseball game, and barbeque as an opportunity to network. Additionally, take advantage of lighter workloads and summer Fridays by scheduling informational interviews with valuable networking contacts.
Amanda Augustine is the Job Search Expert for TheLadders. She provides job search and career guidance for professionals looking to make their next career move. Have a question for Amanda? Submit your question here for a chance to have it answered in her weekly column, and be sure to follow her at @JobSearchAmanda on Twitter and “Like” her on Facebook for up-to-the-minute job-search advice.