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Is Your Career on the Right Track? Schedule a Career "Check Up" to Find Out

The sun setting on a grassy field.

Just as you would schedule a check-up to keep your physical health in tip-top shape, you should do the same for your career. Consider conducting a “healthy career habits” assessment every 6 months, annually, or once every two years to ensure your career is thriving. Use the tips from this video as a starting point; you may find that you’ll ask yourself some of the questions more frequently than others:

Want a few more resources and ideas? Consider the following:

Taking on pro-bono projects/volunteering

To gain experience at new organizations, take on a pro-bono project. This allows you to develop new relationships and use new skills that may not be as prominently needed in your current work. You may even use it as an opportunity to forge a vital new partnership between your organization and the one in which you are volunteering.

Developing leads in your network

Scheduling informational interviews can be a great way to build relationships and learn about career paths. In fact, you should conduct them even if you’re not job searching. Also, don’t lose sight of the idea of being a resource to others. Let’s say one of your contacts is seeking a new bookkeeper and one of your friends (a bookkeeper) is looking for greener pastures. By facilitating a match between the two, you are helping each to fulfill their needs and cementing your value to them in each of their eyes.

Learning new skills 

As the way we do our work constantly changes, keep ahead of the curve by learning which skills you’ll be needing to do your job best. If you’re not sure what might become required in your career area, read a few job descriptions and identify which are frequently mentioned, then select a course or workshop in which you can gain those proficiencies. If you’re still unsure whether you’ll need new skills, revisit this Idealist Careers article for some more guidance.

Engaging in your personal/professional networks

Everyone’s comfort level with connecting to others varies; some will be engaged with a different person from their network every day of the week, and still others might find it hard to make a monthly connection with even one person. Whatever your level, try to stretch yourself beyond that. For example, if you’re a “once-a-monther,” challenge yourself to two times per month. Check out our list of 20 ways to network that don’t feel like networking for some more ideas.

Earning side income

Similar to taking on a pro bono project, by working a side job you can enhance the skills you may not use everyday at work as well as fuel one of your passions. Trying your hand (and being successful) at making money on the side while you’re gainfully employed can take away fear you may experience if there ever comes a time when the future of your main gig is uncertain. Whether you work on a side business for that reason or simply for the fun of it, use these tips to help you get on your feet.

By Victoria Crispo

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