As we put July firmly in the rearview mirror and enter August, I can’t help but reflect on how unique this month is every year. Obviously 2020 has society in extreme circumstances. But beyond the COVID-19 pandemic, August has always represented a month of learning, improving, and reigniting my career passions.
The office tends to slow down a little bit.
There is a lull in days off and holidays.
And the rest of summer is sure to begin flying by as fall looms in the not so distant future.
It’s the perfect time to recharge and retool, bringing a new wave of motivation through the end of the year. If you’re looking to make August your best month yet, here are a few things to think about.
1. The Perfect Time To Take A Risk
Have you been patiently sitting on a half-baked idea that you think could make a real impact on your business, but are unsure when to bring it to upper-management? Turns out, August might be the perfect time. With business slowed and leadership teams looking to sustain growth through the Summer, there may be more opportunities to pursue “risky” endeavors.
It could be anything from an updated way to organize leads to a content strategy that will increase brand awareness. Maybe you just think the company should be doing more thought leadership in your industry. Whatever the idea, showing that you are willing to try and implement something can do wonders for your career. Just make sure the idea is actionable and backed by some research.
2. Preparing For Career Advancement
Right past the midway point to winter, August is ideal for goal-setting and thinking about the future. I tend to believe that August is the best time of the year to have a chat with your manager about your performance, genuinely asking for areas that you can improve in. By bringing this up in August, you have enough time to actually implement their advice before the new year.
If you are hesitant about where to begin with these types of conversations, check out this interview with Scott Miller, best-selling author and EVP of Thought Leadership at FranklinCovey, who discusses how to become a leader in your organization and the right way to frame career advancement questions.
The sooner you can get into the mindset of genuine curiosity about your future with an organization, the better.
3. Improving Your Education And Development
In our tech-savvy, fast-paced culture, I often find that we don’t have time to take a step back and get back to the basics of what made us pursue our career choice in the first place. As a content creator, I like to use August as a month of learning by taking courses, reading books, and listening to webinars. It helps me refine my work and ultimately become a better employee over the long-run.
While this is something that you should be thinking about year-round, we tend to have more time in August to set aside several hours for learning. I always recommend speaking with your direct superior and asking for any learning recommendations that they have. Not only does it display a dedication to your professional growth, but can be a good way to find common ground with your co-workers.
4. Finding Time For Passion Projects
Elevating your career isn’t solely determined by a job. There are plenty of other creative and professional options to pursue that will make you a better, more well-rounded worker. The key is to build symbiotic flows that will work together.
For example, I spend a lot of time freelance writing outside of my full-time marketing job in the Summer. Writing on the side made me better at my job and eventually led to my first promotion in 2019. Marketing helped me build a personal brand, portfolio, and taught me how to become a better writer. I can leverage my years of marketing experience to prospective freelance clients because I understand the way content works. I can leverage my years of writing experience in my marketing career because every team needs a good writer.
As one grows stronger the other grows with it. If one fails, I have the other to lean on.
Finding passion projects that are cohesive makes life a little more exciting and will certainly drive career growth.
5. Building Your Portfolio
One of the most important things anyone can do for their career is build an online portfolio. In a few years from now, if you haven’t carved out your space on the internet, no one will be able to find you.
Already, the first thing an employer or co-worker does when they meet you is Google your name. It’s up to you to determine if what they find will push you forward or hold you back. Take some time in August to really flesh out a professional portfolio beyond Ladders and LinkedIn, displaying your recent work, a clean “about” section, and some key selling points. On my website, I feature a few select pieces of writing, links to the projects I have worked on, social media accounts, and an option at the bottom to subscribe to my newsletter–further establishing a connection between myself and the viewer.
Before you know it, August will be over and the conversation will begin shifting to 2021. What are you willing to do to elevate your career before the month ends? Take a moment to really think about where you are at personally and professionally, and use some of the mentioned strategies to build momentum into September. Good luck!