In spring cleaning mode?
Polish your résumé and touch-up your network!

by Joan Lloyd

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Does your job need some spring cleaning? Are you feeling bored, frustrated or stressed? Does the change of season make you restless — itching to clean up the garden, clean out a closet or organize your workspace? Why not channel some spring energy into sprucing up your career?

Polish your results

Identify what you love best about your job and talk to your manager about doing more of it. Often we only talk to our manager when things go wrong, or during planned performance reviews.

Why not think back over the past six months or so and ask yourself, what did I really enjoy? What was motivating about that work? Why was it so much fun for me?

Then set an appointment with your manager and share your thoughts. Ask, "How can I do more of that kind of work? Do you see any opportunities for me to expand my skills in this area?"

Scrape off your anger

Some people carry their bitterness and anger like thick coats of paint. Each negative experience seems to cling to them, until their friendliness and cooperation are deeply buried. Removing the layers takes a lot of elbow grease and determination.

Identify your damaged relationships and make a promise to yourself to extend a helping hand and at least regain a professional relationship. If an old issue is the problem, scrape it off and resolve to put it behind you. If you discover that the bitterness is too deep, consider starting over with a new job.

Buff your relationships

Most people don't think about networking until they're job-hunting, but that's a poor time to be scratching together a contact list. Relationships don't work like that. The people I know who have successful careers have made it a regular practice to keep their network alive. They lunch with colleagues in other companies to keep in touch and they attend conferences, in part to meet new people. They are willing to help people who seek them out for information and in turn, people are quick to help them when they want a new career move.

Recycle your skills

If you've been on the job more than three years, it's time to ask yourself if it's time to move on. Most jobs can be mastered in a three-year time span. It's enough time to learn the job and achieve some significant results. Now, I'm not advocating that you jump ship just because you're at the three-year mark. But don't make the mistake of staying on your job out of complacency or desperation. Every three years, ask yourself if you still enjoy your work. Does it satisfy you? Do you enjoy the people? Are you good at what you do? If so, stay — but do it on purpose.

Dust off your résumé

When was the last time you pulled out your résumé and looked at it? Probably when you got the job you have now, I suspect. Why not update it? You never know when a good opportunity will arise, and you need to be ready. Dig through your accolades file. (You DO have a personal file that contains thank-you letters, accomplishments, awards and complimentary letters from customers, don't you?) Update your résumé with the experiences and results you've garnered over the past few years. The longer you wait to do this, the more you're likely to forget. If you end up looking for a new job five years from now, how on earth will you ever remember all of your accomplishments?

Clean out the clutter

Talk to your manager about delegating some of your routine work. These tasks used to be interesting — and will be to someone new — but you are bored to tears with them. Perhaps you can redesign your job, so you will have more time to focus on more-challenging projects.

Joan Lloyd has a solid track record of excellent results.  Her firm, Joan Lloyd & Associates, specializes in leadership development, organizational change and teambuilding.  This includes executive coaching, 360-degree feedback processes, customized leadership training, team assessment/teambuilding and retreat facilitation. Her line of management, career and job hunting tools (booklets, audios, CD & video) are available on her website. Email Joan if you have a question you would like considered for publication.  Visit her website, www.JoanLloyd.com, to search her archive of more than 1100 articles, by keyword or category.

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