In 2014, less than a third of U.S. workers felt engaged at work. That’s according to a recent Gallup poll that illustrates how easy it is to fall into ruts. Fortunately, Fast Company writer Stephanie Taylor Christensen has done a poll of her own and enlisted some top job coaches to write “5 Ways to Refresh You Career This Spring.” It’s a fantastic list for anyone in need of some professional rejuvenating. Read on for a summary.
1. Stick to What Matters — As Christensen puts it, you’ve got to “prune your schedule” and slice away some of the inessential tasks that might push you to burnout. If you’re saying “yes” to assignments simply because you can, not because they can advance your career, you might be headed to overload, says Elene Cafasso, president of the personal-coaching company Enerpace, Inc. Carasso suggests making a list of your five professional priorities for the year and setting aside time to focus on tasks related to them. It’s better to do five things really well than 25 things only OK.
2. Update That Resume — To extend the gardening metaphor further, after you’ve pruned your schedule, tend to that garden that is your resume and give it some grooming. The smart play, says pro resume writer Laurie Berenson, head of Sterling Career Concepts, LLC, is to update the document regularly, when career accomplishments are still fresh in your head. “It’s much harder to look back over a three- or four-year time period and recall all of your notable accomplishments,” Berenson writes. Updating regularly also means considering formatting changes. The old rule about sticking to one page no longer applies, Berenson writes, and if work in an industry where visuals are important, you might consider an infographic.
3. Update LinkedIn, Too — Nowadays, LinkedIn is an invaluable tool for jobseekers, and just as your CV needs the occasional sprucing-up, your online profile requires constant upkeep. According to Meg Guiseppi, author of 20 Little-Known Insider Tips to Accelerate Your Executive Job Search, you should “pad your name field” with professional credentials (CPA, PhD, etc.), use all 120 characters to craft an optimal professional headline, and work specific keywords into your job titles. You want potential employers to find you as easily as possible.
4. Get a Broader Perspective — This is a forest-through-the-trees thing. Sometimes, we get so caught up at our companies, that we lose touch with our industries on the whole. Executive coach Scott W. Ventrella recommends joining professional societies and attending conferences — things that will keep you engaged with your professional community.
5. Holler at Your Networking Contacts — Every now and the, recommends FlexJobs CEO Sara Sutton Fell, email some of your professional colleagues to say hello and see how they’re doing. You don’t need to ask for a specific favor. Just keep it casual and ask about hobbies/kids/etc. “Those little check-ins will do wonders to put you at the forefront of people’s minds who could potentially impact your career,” Sutton Fell says.