When summer hits, the packed weeks of spring slide into long, lazy days, and it’s tempting to grow a little lazy about work and your career, too. Yet the summer months allow you extra time, which can be an opportunity for a solid career boost. What steps can you take to further your career during the summer?

  1. Network. Many professional associations or organizations plan fun seasonal get-togethers that — bonus! — are held outside. Take advantage of these events not only to enjoy yourself by the pool, but also to expand your contact pool. You never know who you’ll meet at the bar.
  1. Join a Professional Association. If you are not already a member of an association, now’s the time to join. By doing so, you’ll already be familiar with the group’s routines come fall. If their fall event schedule is posted, check it out and plan ahead for your fall networking opportunities.  
  1. Volunteer for a New Project.Take advantage of others’ vacations to let your star shine. You may even assume oversight of some projects you may not have typically supervised — and gain valuable leadership experience in the process.
  1. Brush up your LinkedIn profile and resume. When work projects slow down, take advantage of this time to launch a new marketing project — You, Inc. Your profile will be ready “just in case.” Check out these resources from Aspire on personal branding tools.
  1. Enroll in a fall conference in your field. Tap into your education budget, knowing you can look forward to networking and learning at this event.
  1. Go Back to School.Or, at least, branch out and learn a new skill, whether it be graphic design or database management.
  1. Learn from Your Peers.Take advantage of your summer downtime to listen to Aspire!’s Career Change podcasts, and get inspired for a fall career change by four professionals who have been in your shoes and made the switch.
  1. Touch base with clients.Use the summer months to put in a bit of follow-up time with your clients and let them know you’re thinking of them. If you need to talk shop, meet at a ball game!

Think of your career goals, whether securing a new job or moving up in the ranks, when you decide which tactics to pursue. If you put just some of them to use, you can plan to arrive at Labor Day with more than a summer tan —  you’ll also have greater direction in your career.