Regardless of where you are on your current career path, there are certain steps that every career-minded professional should take to grow their career:
Check your current career goals. What companies do you want to work for? What is your ideal job description? What is your perfect day? What is the legacy you wish to leave professionally and personally? Now, how does your current job match up with these answers? You want to do an annual check-up of your career goals because your assumptions, ideals, and needs change. Make sure that you are on track with where you want to go now, not where you thought you wanted to go ten years ago.
Update your resume. Does your resume reflect your most recent accomplishments, title, and responsibilities? Is it still tailored to your career objectives? Are there items that are no longer relevant? Do other items need to be highlighted as your career goals have changed? Even if you are not in job search mode, updating your resume forces you to take an inventory of your career to date.
Maintain your existing network. The best time to network is when you don’t need to network. Block the next few months of the year to call and/or email everyone in your database to update contact information, catch up on summer vacations, and wish happy holidays in November/ December.
Grow your network. The easiest time to network is when you don’t need to network. Block one lunch per week to meet someone new. Join a professional organization, or ask friends and colleagues for introductions. Have fun. Focus on the relationship. Go with the intention of just making a connection (not achieving some grandstanding professional goal), so there is no pressure.