The holidays are a stressful time for so many of us so it’s understandable that that the last thing you’re thinking about is your career. But moving your job and future at work forward doesn’t have to be a full-out effort that interferes with rest and relaxing with friends and family.Especially if you’re left holding down the fort at the office during the holidays, you can take advantage of the slow period at work to do some small — but important — things that will help you start the new year with a clean plate and some ammunition to catapult you into a productive year:
1. Sanitize your social media. This year has been full of things to react to in social media, and sometimes you may have retweeted something or commented on something that seems regrettable or possibly unprofessional, in hindsight. Go through your Facebook and Twitter feeds and make sure you’re proud of what you see there — or at least would feel comfortable with a prospective employer reviewing during research on any new job search you may conduct next year.
2. Update your LinkedIn profile. You may have hit some goals, won a new title or updated some of your skills. Don’t forget to update your LinkedIn profile with any information that shows you got a promotion, an expanded role or new responsibilities.
3. Follow some influencers. There are more ways than ever to keep up with thought leaders in your field. Review the podcasts out there, follow your role models on LinkedIn and sign up for Medium account or to be alerted when key people in your industry put up their latest blog posts.
4. Network during holiday parties. Holiday parties are a nice way to unwind but having fun is not mutually exclusive with meeting new people or building stronger relationships with people who can help you further your career. Don’t over-indulge in the libations and staying clear-minded will help but you don’t need to force networking interactions if they don’t feel natural. You can simply be yourself and pay attention to who you’d want to get coffee with during the new year. Just don’t forget to follow up!
5. Sign up for some industry newsletters. It’s not only important to keep up with thought leaders and people you admire in your field but industry developments as well. One of the easiest ways to do this is to sign up for email newsletters. Once a year, it’s worth looking around to see if any new ones have launched and sign up for any new daily or weekly news updates.
6. Set up some job alerts. Even if you’re not actively looking for a new job during the holidays but just toying with the idea of quitting your job or starting your job search after your bonus is paid out in 2018, it’s still worth setting up job alerts now in order to not miss anything new that comes up in the new year.
7. Send holiday cards to people in your career network. With e-cards, it’s easier than ever to send people you know a reminder that they’re in your thoughts and it’s a relatively innocuous and friendly way to keep in touch without looking like you’re “asking” for anything. Plus, it’s a good excuse to attach any small update you want to provide.
None of these things take very much time in the next couple weeks and many of these little activities can be done from a slow lunch break from your desk. So before you write off the holidays as a time that’s dead in terms of career-building, cross these seven items off your list!
Georgene Huang is CEO of Fairygodboss, a marketplace where professional women looking for jobs, career advice and the inside scoop on companies meet employers who care about gender equality.