In a lot of companies, summer can be slow time – with many employees taking off on Fridays for long weekends or spending those vacation days on lazy summer activities and trips. Clients also become more unavailable due to time off causing things to slow down even more. You can take advantage of the slower pace and emptied out office by stepping in to fill the vacation void.
Here are six suggestions to boost your promotion potential this summer.
1. Take over for someone who is on vacation – to learn a new skill.
There is no better way to learn how to do something than by just doing it. In the summer, opportunities open up due to vacationers. Look for them and volunteer to take them on so that you can broaden your experience and your network. Let your peers across the company know you are interested in learning about what they do and offer to help them prep for vacation or catch up afterward. Let your boss know that you are there to fill in if needed – especially if it means you can learn xyz…
2. Throw an evening BBQ for networking with people up the chain and in other areas.
Summer is a great time for casual entertainment. Get a group together for an informal barbeque or picnic or outdoor drink session. Invite folks outside your normal circle. Include some from the next level up in the organization and/or from areas in which you normally don’t work. Get to know these contacts in this casual environment so you can help each other out in more tense times. Be sure to keep in contact with them after the event as well.
3. Join an industry group outside of your company.
Long summer evenings are great for attending industry seminars, conferences or even just get togethers with folks in your industry from across the region. Learn how people in other companies tackle industry problems, develop contacts for potential future jobs or business and learn a few new tricks and skills pertinent to your industry. If you don’t know of any, perhaps you can schedule a meet up yourself, using internet forums, social networking sites or just plain old email.
4. Pitch a special (needed) project to your boss.
If things are really slow, use your creativity to develop a plan to address some existing or potential company problem. Be sure that your skills can be used to work the plan and then pitch it to your boss or other appropriate person in the company as a summer project.
5. Practice having an executive presence – dress up, stay calm, stick to the problem and don’t personalize issues, avoid gossip, project confidence.
Promotion criteria, especially to executive level positions, can be nebulous. Looking and acting the part can add to your promotability scorecard. Polish your image by starting to upscale your work wardrobe to more closely match what the C level executives wear in your company. Practice remaining in control in tense situations. Show others that you focus on the situation, not the person when solving problems or working issues.
6. Identify a sponsor/mentor.
Having someone in the company that knows your skills and believes in your potential can be a real leg up on the career climb. Look around in the company for someone close enough to you, yet having power and visibility with the management and executive crew. Develop a plan to deepen your positive interactions with the identified person, including a path leading to the point where you feel comfortable letting your sponsor know where you want to move up in the company and asking for their help in finding those opportunities.
So, don’t let the summer waste away. Use it to boost your promotion potential!
What have you done in past summers to develop your talents, network and promotability?