As we hit the mid-year point in the calendar, it's a great time for everyone -- no matter what stage you are in your career -- to take some time and evaluate how the first half of the year has gone and review what you hope to accomplish in the remaining months of this year.Why conduct a mid-year career review? Ideally you have a mindset that you own your career; that is, that you have your hands on the present and future of your career. Neither your boss nor your employer really cares about your career advancement -- or certainly, are not as invested in it as you should be. Thus, conduct a mid-year review totally for your benefit -- to help move your career forward.How -- and when -- should you conduct a mid-year career review? Why not right now? If not now, later today or during the weekend. The process is not painful -- in fact, it's just a few steps.
5-Step Process for Conducting a Mid-Year Career Review
1. Review your career goals
While it's helpful if you created some career resolutions at the beginning of the year that you can examine for progress, it's much more important to assess where you are in your career -- and where you want to be next.Remember that job-interview question, where do you see yourself in five years? That's really a question you should be asking yourself. So, ask yourself, how do you want to see yourself in five years? Now... Is your career on track? If yes, it's still a good idea to make some concrete plans and action steps to keep the momentum going, as discussed in Step 3. If no, you should consider expanding your career review into a weekend or part of your next vacation (as discussed in Step 4).
2. Evaluate your accomplishments
What have you accomplished in the first half of the year -- both in your job and in your professional development? While we recommend regularly keeping track of your accomplishments, most of us simply do not have the time to do so with the demands we face at both work and home.So, at mid-year, now is the time to develop a list of your key accomplishments for the year. How have you excelled at your job? How did you facilitate your employer's continuing success? Did you help boost revenues or better efficiencies? Bring a new project or product online?If you're struggling with identifying your accomplishments, please take a moment to review our article, For Job-Hunting Success: Track and Leverage Your Accomplishments. We also have a useful tool for tracking your accomplishments -- our Accomplishments Worksheet. If you're unhappy with the quality or quantity of your accomplishments, make a plan for improving them in the second half of the year.
3. Develop/adjust career plans for second half of the year
Whether you are much of a planner or not, this step is serious if you have a vision of your future career. It's great to have a goal, but you're much more likely to succeed -- and in a timely fashion -- if you make plans to help achieve that goal. If you made some plans earlier in the year, now's the time to see how well they are coming along -- and what you need to do to tweak them to bring them successfully to an end -- and move you one step closer to your career goal. If you haven't made any concrete plans for your career, now is a great time to get started. Make the plans now, implement them for the rest of the year, and evaluate their success at the end of the year. Think of plans as action steps you take to help achieve one or more career goals. For example, if you want to make a career change, you often need to accomplish several items to make it happen -- additional training/education, work experience in the new field, and new network contacts in the new field.
4. Consider a "career-cation"
A large number of workers take vacations and holidays around this time of year, so the timing is perfect to carve out a piece of that vacation for focusing on your career. Focusing on your career should be something enjoyable and motivating and self-empowering. Often that is just not the case when you work a 40+ workweek and want to use your days off for fun and personal issues and errands... so, carving out a piece of your vacation is the perfect solution.
5. Celebrate successes; defeat setbacks
Once you completed the first four steps, you should have a firm understanding of your career successes and setbacks so far this year -- as well as plans to move your career forward for the second half. If you've succeeded in achieving some of your career plans and goals this year, reward yourself in some small way to help celebrate your hard work and good fortune. If you've struggled a bit in the first half of the year, do figure out how and why things went wrong and make changes so that the second half of the year will be better -- but don't dwell on your setbacks. Learn from your errors and move forward.
Final thoughts on your mid-year career review
Working on enhancing and improving your career now that we've reached the mid-point of the year should be an enjoyable task -- and one made easier with the steps outlined in this article. Finally, other key career actions you should undertake now -- and really throughout the year -- include updating your resume (even if you are not job-hunting or have any plans to look for a new job), staying in touch with your network contacts (and continually attempting to add new contacts), and monitoring and enhancing your career brand (via LinkedIn or other professional networking site, as well as with relevant postings to a blog or website).