14 Things You Can Do This Weekend to Advance Your Career
and Still Have Time for Brunch
By Helen Godfrey, MA, NCC, BCC, LPC
This weekend, take a break from your job, but give your career a boost. Try these 14 simple things you can do to advance your career both online and offline. They’re all quick enough to squeeze in between Friday and Monday while still giving you plenty of time to sleep in or hang out with friends.
Things to Do Online to Supercharge Your Career
1. Post a new picture. Photographs are often the first thing visitors notice about your profile. Start out with a high-quality image. Use Photoshop to adjust the lighting and remove any blemishes. If you need help, find someone on Fiverr
2. Focus on your hub. Think about where you want hiring managers to see you. Your main presence online might be your website, landing page, or blog. If you rarely post any updates, your LinkedIn profile could be the most effective choice. Whatever your showcase, keep it current and engaging.
3. Research compensation. Find out how much your skills are worth. That way you’ll have the facts you need for salary discussions. Here are some resources to research salaries:
4. Discover a new app. Simplify your professional life with apps that will save you time and make you more productive. Take your to-do list to a whole new level or check out the latest organizing tool. Try Simpleology or To Doist
5. Join a LinkedIn group. Extend your network by participating in a group related to your field. Post a question or share your expertise. I lived and worked in Japan through the JET Program and I joined a JET alumni group on LinkedIn. There was a student who was interested in joining the JET Program and asked the group what we loved the most about living in Japan. I finally had to deactivate my alerts for the conversation because there were so many replies. What a great problem! So, all of this to say, the student asked a great question that was fun and easy for us, as a group to answer. In addition, we were able to give him an idea of what to expect.
What impressed me, personally, the most about this interaction was the student commented on each and every post thanking everyone for their help. I would have been more than happy to provide additional information if he had additional questions. So yes, following up is important. As Mary Kay, the founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics said, everyone has an invisible sign hanging around their necks saying, “Make me feel important.” Acknowledging that someone’s advice was helpful and meaningful is a good way to start a conversation and a relationship.
6. Follow someone on Twitter. Reach out to a thought leader or follow up with a colleague you sat next to at a fundraiser last week. Re-tweet some of their posts. Follow companies of interest. Many times, companies will post their latest news and/or jobs on Twitter. It’s good to stay current on the latest company news. This probably goes without saying but, stay away from controversial issues. Once you post something online, it is forever online. Find a close, confidential circles of friends that you can vent your frustrations to without fear of it coming back to haunt you. Keep your online interactions 100% positive.
7. Like a company on Facebook. Maybe you dream about working for Google or The Boston Consulting Group. Like them today so you’ll receive updates about their activities and have more to talk about if you land an interview.
8. Clean up your inbox. Weed out the clutter so you can stay on top of your new activities. Unsubscribe from newsletters you rarely read and combine your favorite subscriptions.
Things to Do Offline to Supercharge Your Career
1. Attend networking events. Set a goal for how many professional events you want to attend in the coming month or over the next year. Show up with an agenda for what you’re looking to accomplish, whether it’s meeting new clients or learning about recent regulatory changes. Here are some networking resources for Houston, Texas.
2. Update your look. When was the last time you tried a new hairstyle? Book an appointment at a popular salon or visit a makeup counter for some new tips. Sephora offers free make-up lessons that you can book in advance.
3. Rehearse your elevator pitch. Introduce yourself in a way that makes others eager to learn more. Come up with a memorable statement about what you do and who you do it for. You may find this article helpful: How to Create an Elevator Pitch Employers Want to Hear
4. Volunteer in your community. Helping others can be good for your career prospects. Organize a car wash to raise money for your children’s school or join a group that cleans up local parks. You’ll make new contacts and add to your experience. Try Volunteer Match or United Way to find experiences of interest.
5. Develop a side job. Sell your handmade crafts at a neighborhood boutique or offer logo design services to small businesses. Your hobby could provide income while you build up your portfolio. Here are some resources for free lancing:
a. 99 Designs
6. Cultivate career advisors. Feedback from others provides the information and encouragement you need to leverage your strengths. Invite your former boss out to lunch or ask a friend to rehearse a job interview with you.
Return to the office on Monday knowing that you’ve enhanced your credentials and prepared yourself to take on greater challenges and responsibilities. Building your brand, strengthening your relationships, and learning new information will help you to map out your career path and move ahead.