Four ways to make this your summer of success

It’s tempting to bask in the heat all summer long, losing track of what you want in your position, and your career as a whole.

Here’s a better idea: think ahead instead, and make steady progress through the summer. Between trips to the beach, hikes in the mountains or even a classic “staycation” in your neighborhood, there’s time to work on your career so you’re prepared when things kick into high gear again in the fall.

Here’s how to stay on top of your goals before the cooler months roll back around.

Bring your former colleagues together

In the summer, people feel more loose and more social. Use that time to get to know people and strengthen your network. Getting back in touch with those you used to work with could be a fun way to both catch up and to find out what’s happening in your industry.

J.T. O’Donnell writes about this in a 2015 Inc. article.

“All of us have colleagues from old jobs. Even those crazy summer jobs you had while in school. Use social media and pull together a meet-up at a local restaurant and invite all the alum from an old employer. It’s a fun, easy way to network with former colleagues face-to-face. And, it could stir up some new partnership or job opportunities,” O’Donnell writes.

Get some informational interviews on your calendar

Even if you don’t want to switch jobs, it’s good to know what’s out there — and what may be a fit — before you’re feeling a crisis about jumping.

Marisa Torrieri writes about booking informational interviews during the summer in an article for LearnVest.

“If you’re planning to spend some time this summer figuring out your next career move–especially if an industry change is in your future–try to squeeze in as many informational interviews as you can while your workload is light. Picking the brains of some of the smartest and most capable people in your extended network could give you the push you need to make the leap to your dream job,” Torrieri writes.

Give your skill set a major boost

During most of the year, it’s incredibly stressful to improve your skills while handling a heavy workload. In the summer, when most industries slow down a little, it’s the perfect chance to fill in any holes on your resumé with classes.

In a 2017 Forbes article, Alisa Cohn writes about bettering your skills in the summer.

“The summer pace gives you some breathing room, and this is a perfect time to build your skills. Attend a ‘learn to code workshop;’ investigate conferences; sign up for a management training seminar or class. Putting these on your calendar early in your summer will ensure that you achieve something substantial when the busy fall resumes. Another way to build your skills is to investigate volunteer opportunities where you can get some new experiences. One of my clients wanted to improve his business acumen so he spent time last summer researching non-profit boards. He wanted to find a cause he cared about — of course — and he also wanted to serve on the finance committee of the board so he could participate in those discussions. He learned a lot through that process and also met people who helped informally guide him,” Cohn writes.

She adds that you can read books, blogs and magazines in your industry.

Do a “personal annual review”

Normally people review their goals at the end of the year, amid New Year’s and its resolutions and the frenzy of holiday parties and year-end benchmarks. But the summer is a much better time to take a look at whether you’re where you want to be.

Les McKeown writes about this concept in TIME.

“There’s something seemingly magical about the calendar year end that has us all trapped in its spell. We see the turn of the year as a time for reflection and a time to plan the year ahead. But the reality is, the calendar year-end is an entirely mechanistic construction. An annual review (looking back at what you learned, what you achieved, what you missed out on, and rearranging priorities for the incoming year) is an incredibly useful exercise, but there’s absolutely no reason your need to conduct it in the middle of a much-needed holiday, and during what is a busy time for all of us. Do what I do. Move your personal annual review to the summer. You still get to review the entire previous year, but you also get to do it in a much less frenzied state, and with much more likelihood that you will actually implement the lessons you learn (remember all those never-happened new years’ resolutions?),” McKeown writes.

Use the slower pace of warmer months to your advantage this summer.