With summer in full swing, it might be tempting to kick up your feet with a cold one and enjoy the weekly BBQs with family and friends. But summer is actually the perfect time to hone your career-advancing skills. Many people have New Year’s Resolutions but Half-Year Check-Ins can be just as useful.

While everyone else is whiling away the longer days, you can seize the season to make sure you are reaching your full career potential. In order to be the star student who’s ready from the get-go on the first day of class, one needs to plan ahead and not let your mind turn to mush in the warm summer months. Read through these tips to get ahead.

  1. Review both short-term and long-term career goals. The summer is the perfect time to take stock of where you are versus where you’d like to be. Don’t wait until December to check in and determine your next course of action.
  2. Update your resume, portfolio, and online profiles. You’ve been busy meeting impossible deadlines and countless client revisions. Now things are slowing down for the summer and you can catch your breath. Don’t forget to update your “sales kit” of resume / portfolio / online profile (LinkedIn, CreativeHotList, etc.) to reflect these valuable projects.
  3. Look into potential skill-enhancing classes to take in the fall. Whether it’s a Marketing class via UCLA Extension or an Animation/Visual Effects class at Gnomon, course catalogs come out months in advance of the first day of class so now’s the time to plan ahead.
  4. If you haven’t already, include industry blogs and self-improvement tips in your summer reading plans. We know everyone wants to read about that girl and her tattoo, but throw in a good measure of fun and insight, too. (Just don’t watch cat videos until 2am. At least not *every* night.)

Of course, all of the above can be done outdoors, under a beach umbrella, or on your backyard lawn in the afternoon. We’re not humorless headmistresses. We know you want to get out there and enjoy the sun. But remember summer should be both restorative *and* productive. The key is in the balance of play and work.

Good luck!
Jo Szeto – for Artisan Creative