I’m having trouble writing this blog post, because all I want to do is go outside and enjoy the warm spring air.
Alas, I am inside at my computer, occasionally staring out my window at the bright blue sky. And, after I finish writing, there is more inside work to be done today. I’ve just received a delivery of three brown boxes filled with file folders, storage bins, crates and plastic hangers. I have a stack of garbage bags at the ready. There are fresh batteries in my label maker.
That’s right; it’s spring cleaning time.
The truth is that I absolutely love organizing, filing, folding, purging and alphabetizing (my accountant told me I am her only client who color-codes my tax documents). Yes, I am a Virgo.
But I know that spring cleaning (or any-time-of-year cleaning) is not easy for everyone. It can be hard to let go of the old and make room for the new. But it must be done, and spring is a great time to refresh and renew every nook and cranny of your home, office, garage or any other space that needs sprucing up. It’s also a great time to spring clean your career. Here are three important ways to do that:
Clean your career (literally). When was the last time your organized all of your career documents, both on paper and on your computer? Take time now to toss or delete outdated versions of your resume, file past cover letters, put company information you’ve gathered into marked folders and organize that rubber-banded stack of business cards you’ve collected over the past several months. (Hint: if there’s a card whose owner you can’t remember, Google that person or check out his or her LinkedIn profile to see if you can jog your memory. If not, toss the card.)
Clean up your online image. According to a recently released Microsoft survey, 85 percent of HR professionals responding said that positive online reputation influences their hiring decisions, and 70 percent said they have rejected candidates based on information they found online. Make no mistake about it: your online image will affect your job search and your career. If you haven’t already, set up strict privacy settings on all social networks (often, including on Facebook and the new Google Buzz, the default setting is for all of your information to be public, so check every setting!), take down any inappropriate pictures or content, set up a 100 percent professional profile on LinkedIn and Google, and think twice before posting any new content on Facebook, Twitter or a blog. In many recruiters’ minds, you are what you post, so keep it clean.
Clean out your to-do list. One of the biggest concerns I hear from students and young professionals is about how outrageously busy they are. Between studying, working, volunteering, socializing, texting and occasionally eating and sleeping, it’s amazing you have any time to think! Take time this spring to sit down and analyze your time commitments. What’s really enjoyable to you? What work is most fulfilling? What activities do you dread attending? I challenge you to delete anything from your calendar that is not either totally necessary or totally enjoyable. Spring is such a glorious season — don’t miss it because you are too busy running yourself ragged.
What other tips do you have for spring cleaning your career? Please share!