When you’ve finished spring-cleaning that overflowing closet of yours, shift your attention beyond the sweater you’re ready to part ways with. “You probably re-evaluated your career in January as part of your New Year’s resolutions. Now that a few months have passed, spring is a great time to check in on your progress to ensure you’re on track for meeting your goals, as well as to set new ones,” says Vicki Salemi, a career coach at Monster.
If you’ve been putting it off, Salemi stresses that now is the time to edit your LinkedIn profile, review your online presence, and update your résumé. “As a former corporate recruiter, I’ve noticed many job seekers tend to put their job search on hold from late June until Labor Day, preferring to simply coast through the summer,” she explains. Just like the rest of the country, many recruiters and human resources managers take vacations in summer, so spring is the best season to hustle.
Not sure where to start? Set aside anywhere from five minutes to an hour to spring-clean your career stat.
If You Have 5 Minutes: Set Yourself a Deadline
If you don’t have time to do a career deep dive, take the first step toward your goal by simply setting a deadline. Pencil some networking events in your calendar now, and commit to becoming more involved in influential conversations within your industry. “If you put yourself on a schedule, like attending two networking events per month, you’ll greatly increase not only your own chances of making new connections but also your competitive advantage in the hiring process when so many other job seekers aren’t putting in the same effort,” Salemi says.
If You Have 10 Minutes: Google Yourself
Go on, google yourself—you might be surprised by what shows up. Palmer says that like it or not, whatever is online can make or break your chances to upgrade your title, so it's crucial to know what information is out there. Why? It’s a no-brainer for an employer to do a quick search about you. If you find something unruly, make today the day you do something about it.
“Review your public profiles and posts, and ask yourself, If I were an employer, how professional does this candidate seem? How much expertise do they display?” she says. “Scrub those profiles, change privacy settings on Facebook, and take the time to evaluate how you present yourself online.”
Another option is to create fresh content on the internet about you that will come up first in search results. “That way, even if you can’t delete negative posts or pictures, you can show employers positive information first. You can create a website for free on sites like Wix to highlight a portfolio or your online résumé,” she suggests.
If You Have 20 Minutes: Update Your LinkedIn Profile
Have you been out of school for more than five years? If so, you probably haven’t given much thought to that education portion of your résumé or LinkedIn profile because, in your mind, it’s a box that’s been checked off. While that’s true for degree-holders, Palmer challenges those who have a thirst to evolve in their careers to consider how employable they are in their industry and think about some education-focused ways they can become even more competitive in their field.
“You may think that your education and experience have served you well up to this point in your career, and you may be correct in that assessment, but do you know if your background will make you competitive for the future? The employment market is dynamic, and what worked for you in the past may not necessarily work for you going forward,” she explains.
Palmer says to scan job listings that closely mimic your current job—and, more importantly, the one you’re working toward. “Carefully analyze several job postings in your field to see what they are asking for. If there are any skills listed that are required or even preferred that you do not currently possess, you would be wise to start acquiring those skills,” she says. “Even if your current job is not in immediate jeopardy, nothing in the work world is secure. It is to your benefit to prepare yourself for future opportunities by taking advantage of additional education, certifications, or cross-training.”
If You Have 40 Minutes Tidy Your Inbox and Desk
Regardless of whether you occupy the corner office or sit in a co-working unit, studies suggest our surrounds have a huge impact on our ability to think creatively and work efficiently. Salemi says that coming in early to sort through whatever mess you’ve made over the past few months will help clear your head. Her suggestions for what to tackle first? Your inbox and your desk—both destinations you frequent each and every day.
“Go ahead and get rid of what no longer serves you! This means creating folders in Outlook and organizing various messages, as well as deleting old ones to create new storage space. While you’re in the zone, declutter your cubicle and junk drawer, and spray down your workspace with Windex so it’s literally clean and ready for a new chapter,” she explains.
If You Have an Hour: Update Your Résumé
Regardless if you’re hankering for a new job, have plateaued at your current gig, or you want to move to a different role within your company, career coach Cheryl Palmer says updating your résumé is never a wasted effort. Even when you’re not actively putting yourself into situations to progress your career or switch companies, having a hot-off-the-press one-pager on your career history makes you a more attractive candidate. If for nothing else, it shows that you’re always thinking of the future.
“If you haven’t updated your résumé in three months, it probably needs some cleanup work,” she says. “You may have jobs older than the 10- to 15-year limit on the résumé that is only cluttering the document and making it look junky. These jobs are also taking up valuable space that you need to be able to showcase your more recent and more relevant experience. Give your résumé an airing out, and take off older information.”
Have you done a career deep clean? Tell us what you tackled first.