Ah, spring. We venture, squinting, into the light like gophers. A little timid, a little untrusting but drawn to the warmth of the sun and the smell of softening earth.
The best thing about the month of March is that once it arrives, we know we’ve survived another winter. We know this because at some point during the month, we’ll set our clocks forward. The days will get longer, brighter. We’ll throw off our bulky coats, wonder at the bulk our bodies may have accumulated over the winter. Our energy and motivation, dormant for many of us over the winter, will return with the buds on the trees.
There’s no better time to clean house or re-organize our work and personal lives than during this season of renewal. They don’t call it ‘spring cleaning’ for nothing. If it was good enough for Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina (“Spring is the time of plans and projects.”), it’s good enough for us.
Because you’re ready to seize this seasonal opportunity to consider a new career direction, or refresh your current role, here are some tips on ramping up and revitalizing your work life. And don’t be surprised if some of these spill over to your personal life, too.
1. figure out where you want to be.
You can’t reach your destination unless you know where you’re going. Does your work hold your interest? Does it pay you what you’re worth? Are you pursuing your dreams? This isn’t about achieving your goals by the time summer rolls around. It’s about setting – or resetting – your course in the direction you want to go, understanding there’ll be rough seas and challenges that may send you off course. This might be the ideal time to take a course or learn a new skill. Be open to where the journey is taking you – you may never become a prima ballerina, but you might find enormous satisfaction in being an arts administrator for a dance company.
2. take your resume out of storage.
If you’re like most of us, keeping your resume updated is something you’ve been meaning to do but haven’t yet. Now’s the time to review and revise it. Economic and hiring trends change with the seasons; there are lots of online sites that will help you keep your resume in line with what hiring managers are currently looking for. An experienced staffing consultant is an ideal resource. He or she knows what works and what doesn’t, and will help you edit your resume effectively.
3. review your online presence with a fresh perspective.
Keeping your online presence updated is critically important, especially when many employers check you out online if they’re considering hiring you. Make sure your LinkedIn profile is current, dynamic and professional. Add recommendations where possible. Employers want to see what others say about you. We can’t say this strongly enough: be very selective about what you share on Facebook. Yes, it’s your personal, private space that you share only with friends, but a profile picture showing you red-eyed, guzzling a beer bong could make a potential employer think twice about making you an offer.
4. update your interview skills.
There’s a great deal of information available online to help you prepare for interviews. We highly recommend familiarizing yourself with your resume until you can talk about it articulately without referring to it. Another helpful tool in preparing for interviews is practicing aloud. It’s one thing to be prepared in your head; quite another to be thrown off when you hear your voice squeak through an interview. This is another opportunity where a trusty staffing consultant can really help you focus in on your strengths, role play with you to boost your comfort level and help you think on your feet.
5. refresh your wardrobe.
This may sound self-explanatory but it also includes making sure your wardrobe is clean and in good repair. Make sure your clothes fit you comfortably. It’s not necessary to replace your entire wardrobe – few of us can afford to do that – but refresh your existing wardrobe with new accessories, new shirts and ties, a blazer. Get your shoes repaired, replace worn heels or invest in a comfortable, fashionable new pair that can carry you (forgive the pun) over time. It’s the season to invest in a few new, classic, quality wardrobe pieces that reflect you as you want to be perceived.
6. spring clean your workspace.
We all work differently. Some people need clean work surfaces, with everything in its place. Others are visual workers and need to see everything in front of them. There is organization in their apparent disorganization. Whatever your work style, your workspace is a reflection of you. It’s a window to how your mind works. Clear it completely, clean it thoroughly, and replace only what you need to feel comfortable and productive. Organize your files and desk drawers. You’ll be surprised at the lift it gives you and how much easier it is to find things.
Spring is a reminder that winter always ends, even if it sometimes doesn’t feel that way. Let the warmer weather, sunshine and, yes, the singing birds invigorate and refresh you. Shake out the dust and cobwebs, open the windows and get your career in gear!