Summer is when most people want to take a break from dealing with their careers. Job search and hiring slows down, people take vacations, and the last thing any of us really want to do on a nice day is think about ways we can get ahead professionally, right? We want to have fun, not focus on work!


We’re all businesses-of-one who shouldn’t really “check out” on our careers-even in the summer. In fact, if we can carve out some time and be smart about our career activities, we can actually enjoy our summer AND do some meaningful professional development in the process.

Here are seven things you can do over the summer that can have a measurable impact on your career. They are as follows:

1) Socialize as much as possible. (That’s right, get your party on!) Besides enjoying all the BBQs, outdoor concerts, and other fun events happening over the summer, you’ll also give yourself the opportunity to meet plenty of new and interesting people in positive setting. What better way to forge new relationships than to have a good time with those you meet? Then, as the summer winds down, you can start to re-connect with these new friends on LinkedIn and explore what they do for a living. You’ll diversify your network and strengthen it all at the same time.

2) Create a visual board of your career in 10 years. Use your favorite social pinning board to create a visual representation of what you want your professional self to look like in ten years. Ask yourself, “What kind of career goals will I need to reach to realize that future me?” Then, look at the board every day for a few minutes to remind yourself of the old saying, “If you can conceive it, you can achieve it.” Positive mental imagery has a big impact on our ability to succeed.

3) Pick a “Summer of _____” theme. Because the summer is so short, why not create a theme for it? What do you want to do more of? See more of? Create more of? Share your “summer of” theme with those you meet as a conversation starter and you’ll find yourself being very memorable-in a good way. It shows you A) are a fun and creative person, and B) make the best use of your time.

4) Write a blog post. Thanks to LinkedIn, now everyone can be an Influencer! Don’t let that pencil in your status update window go to waste. Craft out a well-written article (read fellow Inc contributor, Jeff Haden’s great article on this here) that showcases your subject-matter expertise within your industry, skill set, etc. When we can articulate what we know, we validate our ability to deliver.

5) Take up a new hobby to leverage the H3 Effect. Any time we take on a new hobby, we are helping our brains expand and evolve. Learning something new-especially, something we enjoy, provides wonderful affects on our physical and mental well-being. Starting a hobby has the H3 Effect: It puts your hands, head, and heart to good use. This could be just want you need to spark some new creativity on-the-job, or get you thinking about your career with some fresh perspective.

6) Spearhead an ‘office alum’ get together. All of us have colleagues from old jobs. Even those crazy summer jobs you had while in school. Use social media and pull together a meet-up at a local restaurant and invite all the alum from an old employer. It’s a fun, easy way to network with former colleagues face-to-face. And, it could stir up some new partnership or job opportunities.

7) Curate content two times/day at peak times. Giving out social currency is easy, free, and provides an excellent ROI. Find smart, timely articles related to your industry and/or career and share them on your social networks with your own personally commentary. Let people inside your professional head so they can see what you read and what matters to you. Be sure to post the content in the morning (8 a.m. – 10 a.m.) and at night (5 p.m. – 8 p.m.), when social usage is highest. It ensures maximum viewing. This way, you’ll stay top-of-mind amongst your peers throughout the summer. You just never know what will spark someone to reach out to you with a career opportunity!

The fun doesn’t have to suffer! You can enjoy your summer and push your career forward. Remember: consistency is key in career growth. We need to constantly find ways to move forward. The seven activities above can help you.

NOTE – If you’re a job seeker reading this… and you like the idea of working smarter (less time), as opposed to harder on your search over the summer, I invite you to check out these free video tutorials on job search.

PS – I also write (and connect with readers) via LinkedIn here >>