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Whether you’re taking on a summer job or internship or trying to launch yourself into a new position or profession, the summer can be a very valuable time for cultivating your career.  So how do you make sure to make the most of your summer and see lasting results throughout the year?

Expand Your Horizons

The summer time is a great opportunity to build your network.  If you’re working at a new or temporary job, take time to get to know your colleagues, peers, and mentors–and don’t forget your customers!  Even if you’re only there for a short time, these connections could prove to be very valuable down the road when you are exploring career opportunities.

Also, building solid relationships with your mentors and managers could lead to strong recommendations or referrals.

Even if you haven’t taken on a new job, but are toiling away at the same day job you’ve had for awhile, the summer time is a great time to get out and party!  Yes, I said party, but with purpose.

With the warm weather people want to get out of the house and there is an event for every personality out there.  Get out, get social, and network.  Whether it’s at a sailing enthusiast’s meet-up, a barbecue for marketers, or a photo walk, go out and do something you enjoy and meet new people.

Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself and find ways to stay connected to the people you meet.  You never know who a great business connection will be or where you will meet them, but if you don’t get out, you’ll never meet anyone.

Volunteer

Maybe during the winter it was too cold for you to bundle up to leave the house, but it’s summer time and you have run out of excuses for why you can’t do this or that.  Sign up to help out your fellow man, animal, local community, or area of vegetation.

Volunteering is not only a way to get re-energized about some of your passions, share your talents, and help others, it’s also a great way to build new skill sets or brush the dust off of ones you haven’t utilized in awhile.

As an added bonus, volunteer work is great on a resume, and you’ll carry that high from helping others back with you into whatever else you’re doing for awhile and it may give you a new perspective on your work.

Work It!

Okay, so not everyone can get out and play all summer and have fun, but you can get noticed at work while everyone else is day-dreaming of sandy beaches and cool breezes.

Summertime always seems to be a bit more relaxed in the workplace with people taking vacations and finding reasons to leave work early to get outside.

Use this time each year to be more proactive than the person next to you.  When others are settling in to the relaxed atmosphere, find ways you can add value and take on new responsibilities.

A manager or peer is going out on vacation? Ask what new tasks you can manage while they’re away. Things are a little slow in the office?  Perhaps you can inquire about job shadowing in a department you’re interested in learning more about.

Get creative, get active, and open your eyes to opportunities that might present themselves around you, and dream of promotions and raises while your co-workers dream of margaritas on the beach. (You can dream about that after 5 o’clock.)

Recharge

You should take advantage of all the opportunities summer time brings, and that includes taking a break and recharging.  Even the brightest go-getters need some rest and relaxation.

Take a vacation to clear your mind so you can come back to work (or your job hunt) renewed with fresh eyes and a new attitude.  If you can’t go on a vacation, find small things you can do to rejuvenate your spirit.

Go for a walk at lunch time.  Exercise after work.  Join a sports league.  Take a weekend road trip.

But get outside and get some vitamin D into your body (from the sunshine.) Exposure to vitamin D helps your body to absorb nutrients which in turn builds strong bones and builds up your immune system (which you’ll need to fortify when winter rolls around again!)

In any event, the summer time is a great time to find ways to relieve some of the stress of the job or job search, and you should take advantage of it.

Enjoy all the benefits summer has to offer not only for yourself but for the potential it can bring for your career.  Be present and intentional and make things happen for you.

And while we all have our moments of weakness, resist the temptation to slack off because of the warm weather or the urge to call in sick repeatedly to escape to the beach, especially if you’re at a summer job or internship.

Use the summer to your advantage to make strides in your career which could lead to opportunities you might not be able to see, whether its a new connection that leads to a job referral or interview, impressing your superiors at work and getting a promotion come fall, or giving yourself a new perspective and future to build towards.

Make the summer yours–don’t just take away great memories, but use it to construct a fantastic future.  And, don’t forget the sunblock–no one likes to get burned.

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