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5 ways to use an extra day off to get ahead in your career

Use time off to gain skills, network and consider your future.

5 ways to use an extra day off to get ahead in your career

A day off from work can represent relaxation — or opportunity. If your employer gives Presidents Day off, consider using the time to take stock of your career and where it’s going:

  • Is your resume up to date?
  • Are there new skills you’d like to develop?
  • Are you up to date on the latest in your profession and your industry?

Here are five ways to make the most of the holiday:

Volunteer

Volunteering is always a great way to boost your career and build your network, says Jasmin Forts of Jobbing With Jas. No matter what skills you have, a nonprofit or volunteer group is bound to find a use for them.

Forts says she worked with a client who used his project management skills to help at a group home that needed help with bookkeeping and doing some financial analysis. He oversaw the project and was able to talk about the experience in an interview for a promotion at his job — which he then got.

Educate yourself

Adding to your knowledge and skills can help you get ahead in your career and enrich your mind. Look into community education courses in your area, or consider an online course, says career coach Jaime Pfeffer. Conferences can expand your knowledge base, too. After you complete a class or return from a conference, Pfeffer recommends checking in with your manager to talk about what you’ve learned.

Analyze your efforts and experiences

Use your day to perform an 80/20 analysis, says career coach Sahil Punamia of the Aspiring Professional. It’s a classic business concept that claims 80 percent of results are driven by only 20 percent of input. “Put in the context of your career, this means that you should seek to identify the 20 percent of work you do that drives 80 percent of your professional development or happiness in the workplace,” Punamia explains.

Consider which assignments you most enjoy and which tasks you learn the most from, then look for ways to take on more of those kinds of work. Ask your manager for more responsibilities in a particular area, or spearhead your own project, Punamia says.

As part of your analysis, ask yourself whether you’re in your dream job or are on track to land it in the future, Punamia says. If you don’t know what your dream job is, think about ways to expand your horizons and explore new types of work.

Take time to think

Take some time to think on your day off — about your career, your values and your future. Take a long walk, meditate, journal or create a vision board, says Karin Hurt, CEO of Let’s Grow Leaders. “Consider what’s most important to you in your life and career and how your job is currently meeting those needs and desires — and what’s missing.” Write a mission statement for your career, jot down some goals, and then consider what steps you’ll need to take to make them reality.

Relax and recharge

A day off is a day off, and it doesn’t hurt to rest and recharge. Taking time to focus on self-care can boost effectiveness, productivity and happiness at work, says career coach Michael Diettrich-Chastain.


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