What are you doing right now?
Are you sitting at your desk, whiling away the time ’til happy hour? Are you recovering from the summer (while you simultaneously daydream about the upcoming long weekend?).
Either way, my guess is that you probably aren’t thinking that hard about your career.
But, did you know that there are some stupidly simple things you can do this fall to help your career, like right now, before it’s time to go to that happy hour?
Let’s get started:
1. Buy a Book
While you are distractedly surfing the net while pretending not to be on Facebook, head on over to Amazon to buy a book that’ll give your career a boost? Such as these 21 titles that Muse career coaches swear by.
Maybe you want to learn something relevant to your field or industry. Or, maybe you could use some more time management, productivity, or leadership skills. Either way, commit to buying (and reading!) one book for your career this fall.
2. Follow Companies on Social Media
Since you are on social media during the day anyway, why not pick five (that’s it, just five) interesting companies and follow them on social media.
Organizations use social media differently now than they used to, and besides posting sometimes boring self-promotional items, they also post job listings, insider information, and just randomly fun stuff. So, if there is a competitor that looks interesting for your company, your industry, or even just in general, follow them. (Or, if that idea doesn’t do it for you, check out 75 career experts you can follow on Twitter instead.)
It doesn’t really matter which you pick. It’s all about building a habit of focusing on your career and keeping your options open.
3. Create a Networking Budget
It doesn’t have to be a lot of money you set aside for the next few months, but enough to take away any excuses you make when opportunities pop up.
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could take a new colleague out to dinner, or enjoy a large amount of cough happy hour cough with some old work connections? Even $5 a week for a cup of coffee with someone new can go a long way!
Not to mention, setting aside some money for networking adds to your intention that you’ll actually do it (instead of talking about doing it and watching crappy TV instead).
4. Sign Up for a Conference or Industry Event
Check out this conference list and see what’s happening in your field (or the field you want to be in next).
Why? Because we are in conference season!
A ton of conferences happen in late September, October, and the beginning of November. It’s after the summer holidays, but before the winter ones, and people are focused and have time to attend. And guess what—tickets are usually on sale right up until the last minute (which means right now!).
If your budget won’t stretch to the cost of a conference, use Meetup and Eventbrite to see what’s happening more locally in your area. Many groups that took a break during the summer, will be firing on all cylinders now.
Remember, nothing beats a real, live, in-person connection! Even if you don’t use that connection now, it’s one more person you can reach out to if you do decide to start searching for a new position six month down the road.