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How to use the Christmas break to your career advantage

Woman wearing an orange jumper working on her career plan from home with her Christmas decorations

ARTICLE SUMMARY

SheCanCode have put together some tips and tricks to get you started and to help you reach your career potential in the New Year.

The festive break is upon us – you’ve nearly made it to the end of another working year!

But while December can be a period of downtime for many, or at least be quieter in terms of workload – why not use the time to reflect on the past year and plan where you want to be in 2024?

SheCanCode have put together some tips and tricks to get you started and to help you reach your career potential in the New Year.

Reflect on where you are and reassess your options (if necessary)

A break from work is the perfect time to take stock of your current situation and assess whether it’s working for you.

Time for reflection is important for career development. It allows you to evaluate what you’ve learnt, re-evaluate your values and what is important to you, and refocus your plan if you feel the need to.

Ask yourself:

  • Does your work inspire you?
  • Are you valued and recognised in your current role?
  • What motivates and inspires you?
  • Are you reaching your full potential?
  • Do you have enough time for life outside of work?

Depending on the answers to the above, it could be time to make a career change.

Evaluate your skills

The tech industry has a huge digital skills gap at the moment – so there has never been a better time to take up a new hobby or learn a new skill.

Have you identified any gaps in your skills that could be improved? Now is the time to research potential training opportunities or courses. If you’re in the tech sector, there are hundreds of free courses to help you gain new skills.

As a starter for ten, we’ve listed some free coding resources that you need to know about here.

You can also look at available courses on sites like Udemy, Codecademy and Makers.

Spruce up your CV

It’s always a good idea for your CV to be up-to-date – after all, you never know what opportunities could come your way.

Spruce up your CV by adding in any relevant information from the past year – any new skills learnt, projects you’re particularly proud of, awards won etc. Don’t forget to double check spelling, grammar and formatting on different devices.

While you’re at it, you could also use the break to revamp your LinkedIn profile too!

Create a plan of action

Ever if you’re not looking for a new role, a career plan of action is always a good idea.

Start by examining your options and what you want to achieve in the coming year – this could be anything from asking for a pay rise, gain a new skill, securing a promotion or transitioning into an entirely different industry.

Decide where you want to be, set clear objectives and write down achievable targets. This way, once you’ve achieved something you can mark it off and celebrate your successes. It also allows you to re-evaluate and review at points during the year.  

Don’t neglect your network

We’ve all been there – you’ve met a great person at an event or network, promised to follow-up and connect, and then never had.

Find time to connect or reconnect with colleagues, friends, recruiters, people you’ve met at work events etc. LinkedIn is a valuable resource to stay connected, keep up-to-date with the latest developments, and to share information with others in your industry. As an added bonus, you could join our Discord channel and discover lots of like-minded women in tech.

You never know what opportunities you might find within your network!

Make a list of your achievements

January is often the time for performance reviews, so use the festive break as an opportunity to really think about what you’ve done well this year.

A performance review is a two-way conversation with your manager. While traditionally performance reviews focus on your employer explaining your impact, it can be a great conversation to shine a spotlight on and demonstrate your achievements.

Make a list of all your achievements, go into detail about how this added value to the organization or projects, and identify your strengths and weaknesses. This way you’ll be prepared for any upcoming appraisals or evaluations. This list could also be a real ‘value add’ if you’re asking for a pay rise.

Don’t forget to take a break too!

While re-evaluating your career is important, it’s also important to remember to take some downtime when you can.

Taking a break helps you recover from stress, restore mental and physical energy, improve your mood, fuel your creativity and restore your motivation.

The better rested you are, the better you’ll be able to tackle your career in 2024!

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