For many, the holidays bring enough stress—shopping malls, “favorite” family members, credit card bills—that dedicating time to one’s work and career is often at the bottom of the season’s priority list. But the holidays are actually a great time to think about career (no, really; trust us!) and it doesn’t have to be stressful. So, take a quick break from scouring the gift guides, put that cookie down, and check out our three tips, complete with apps:
1. You may have already suspected this, but the holidays are great for networking. Think about it: all of those parties you attend, those long lines you stand in—they contain people, who have jobs and stories and friends with jobs and stories. Why not capitalize on the season’s spirit of good will toward others and make some connections? Small talk could lead to a meaningful conversation about work and life and how we could make both better; about how we should do business together. You get the idea. You don’t have to dive in with talk about career, but if you keep it in the back of your mind, you may find that conversation will drift in that direction. And, to help you organize all of those business cards you’ll collect, download the app CardMunch. Simply take a picture of your business cards and the app will convert them to contacts in your phone. Voila!
2. The holidays are also a perfect time to update your resume. Hey, don’t roll your eyes! You may think more in terms of fiscal years at work, but the end of the fiscal year brings enough demands on your time; why not use the end of the calendar year to reflect back on accomplishments and set some professional goals for yourself? The best resumes are as much about where you’re headed as they are about what you’ve done. So take some time to think about where you want to be in a year’s time. Have you been laying the groundwork to make that possible? Would someone reviewing your resume be able to see that pathway and envision you at the end of it? A great way to help you see in your resume what recruiters might see is to use the app TagCrowd. Copy the text of your resume, paste it into the app’s text box and click “Visualize.” What appears is your resume as a “text cloud” image. The most frequently used words will appear larger or darker or have more prominent positioning. If you don’t like what you see, then you know you’ve got to make some changes.
3. Catch up on your reading. If you’re going to be doing all of that networking, you’ll have to have something to talk about. Something interesting. Something that will leave an impression. And because small talk usually doesn’t start with conversations about work, we encourage you to read outside your industry and work interests. Venturing beyond the familiar will hopefully give you that distance from work you were hoping for over the holidays and, in the end, it may even benefit your work. Inspiration and creative ideas often derive from the most unlikely places. To make your reading adventures easier to manage, check out the app Feedly. Feedly is an RSS reader that takes stories from all of your favorite sources and puts them into an attractive, magazine-like format so that you can flip through multiple sources at your leisure.
We look forward to seeing you on the other side of December—connected, confident and well read.