It's summertime and the living is easy. OR the living is full of hustle, depending on your work ethic. Most of your coworkers and bosses may be out of the office, but that doesn’t mean you should dial back on your workload in their absence. If anything, your focus should be on all the ways you can go above and beyond during the dog days of summer.
It may feel difficult to work hard during summer, especially when it looks like everyone else is spending their time playing hard. However, hard work pays off in the long run. It’s a return on investment for the business and the team member. This is not forgotten during annual reviews and sets employees on the path to success. Once the fall months arrive, summer’s hard workers are better positioned to receive raises and land promotions.
What can you do right now to prep for a potential promotion in the fall? See if you can try to accomplish each of these tasks to take your career to the next level.
1. Revisit your skill set.
It’s all about what you bring to the table, according to professional career advisor Melissa McClung. Summer is the perfect season to spend the time building skills you don’t have, or better describing your existing skills and experience.
How does one go about revisiting their skills the right way? McClung advises doing the following:
- If you’re building skills you don’t have: explore development resources, like Udemy or LinkedIn Learning. These sites assist employees in developing new skills in areas like social media management, Microsoft Project and other industry relevant skills.
- If you’re trying to better describe your existing skill: spend the summer writing down one thing you did each day. It has to be one thing you loved to do and it should include the skill that it used. As an example, say you loved meeting a new customer and helping them understand what your company does. You would write down this story and its skill, which is “building new relationships.” McClung says that by the end of the summer, you should have a lengthy list of skills and stories that demonstrate them.
2. Contribute creatively to the summer season.
Adrienne Cooper, Chief People Officer at Fit Small Business, says summer is the best time for employees to contribute in ways that stand out and tie in with the season. Cooper uses time off, and how well a team prepares for members being OOO, as an example.
“Whether you’re a manager or an individual contributor on the team, suggest a work plan that enables people to wrap up work in progress and get backup support while they’re out. This allows them to be truly off.”
What about when employees return, in a post-vacation haze and not quite ready to tackle a million things all at once? Cooper advises creating a ‘ramp-up plan’ where the work that needs to be handed back to the vacationing employee is communicated to them. Ideally, this plan should allow the day before and after vacation to be meeting free. This allows employees enough time to finish their prep work prior to being out of office and gives them time, upon returning, to go through and respond to messages.
Are you able to do all of this for your colleagues? Fantastic!
“Successfully implementing work plans like these can illustrate your leadership skills, creativity, ability to prioritize work and coordinate a team, and show that you care about people’s well-being.” Cooper says.
3. Volunteer to tackle a task everyone else has been avoiding.
Ugh, you can probably visualize that task as you read this header. Ellen Mullarkey, Vice President of Messina Staffing, feels your pain, but recommends volunteering to help out where possible.
“If there’s a project that your coworkers have been avoiding, but you know you can do easily, step up to the plate,” Mullarkey advises.
This can be anything from organizing a neglected storage room to sitting down and calling a long list of leads. It may take a bit of time to complete, but think about the aftermath. Not only were you able to accomplish a dreaded thing, but you took it off your boss’s agenda. That’s huge.
“Putting in the work on a difficult task shows that you’re a risk taker and team player,” Mullarkey says. “Both of these are qualities bosses look for when planning promotions.
Oh, hey, fall promotion. You’re well on your way there, thanks to going above and beyond all summer long.