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Summer career boosters, fun included

Summer can be a good time for networking and taking career risks. (iStockphoto)

Summer can be a good time for networking and taking career risks. (iStockphoto)

Summer. It’s a time when many people look out their office windows longing to be outside rather than inside. It’s a time for vacation, recharging and, in some companies and organisations, early dismissal from work on Fridays.

Despite the dreamy images, summer is also a good time to boost your career and add to your experiences. That is a theme a number of LinkedIn Influencers touched on recently, exploring the idea of using the lower-pressure days of summer as a chance to take risks, learn new things, network and more.

Here’s what some of them had to say:

David Kerpen, chief executive officer at Likable Local

Kerpen wrote that summer can be the perfect time to get to know people — both within your own company and with others in your industry in his post Summer Is the Time for Networking, Grab a Margarita.

“Hanging out outside doesn't have to be reserved for time outside of work. Why not use the summer sun as an excuse to get out and network more for your career?”

Kerpen examines several reasons why summer — even in the heat — is a good time to make new connections. Among them: “Networking outside the office has always been a valuable career skill. People are … more laid back during the summer. That manager at work who's normally uptight may cherish an opportunity to let loose outside the office.”

Of course, there are some delicate issues with out-of-office events (like the dreaded office picnic). Kerpen suggests several quick and comfortable networking options.

“Invite your manager out for margaritas at the end of a ‘Summer Friday’. Better yet, organise a cocktail hour for the whole office. Still better, organise a cocktail hour for a bunch of companies in your industry — this will give you an opportunity to network with people outside your company as well. Just don't drink too much,” Kerpen wrote.

Mohamed El-Erian, chief executive officer at PIMCO

The CEO of the US bond fund giant suggests boosting your brain with robust and purposeful reading in his post Three Insightful Books for Your Summer List. His suggestions are meant to make people examine what might be holding back their thought process, and in turn, their success at work or in business. Among them: biases we don’t realize we have.

“Even ‘good people’ can fall hostage to unconscious bias ... As a result, we end up with blind spots that undermine our ability to make consistently good decisions, especially in a rapidly changing world,” El-Erian wrote.

“In a brilliant book called Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People, Mahzarin Banaji and Anthony Greenwald provide valuable insights about the causes and consequences of unconscious biases. They also provide us with a framework to identify costly blind spots, and with tools to minimise their risks and negative influences,” he wrote.

Jim Kim, President at The World Bank

Sure, summer is a time for fun, but Kim, who was born in South Korea but moved to Iowa with his family at a young age, also considers summer a time for exploration.

“When young people ask me how they should spend their summers, I have a couple of pieces of advice. Summer vacations obviously offer a chance to have fun with friends, visit new places and recharge after a long, challenging year of school. But the summer also provides a chance to do something more,” he wrote in his post How to Have a Fun — and Meaningful — Summer.

Kim offered four interesting ideas. Among them:

Do something no one would expect you to do. I spent one summer working at a gravy factory, where I took bottles from boxes and placed them onto a conveyor belt. Another summer, I helped build a restaurant — the Octagon House in Muscatine, Iowa. I was part of a crew that renovated an eight-sided house that used to be a stop on the Underground Railroad for runaway slaves,” he wrote.

Other Influencers

Peter Flint, chief executive officer at real estate listing website Trulia.com discusses his belief that Summer is the right time for taking professional risks.

McKinsey & Co partner David Edelman, who leads the consultancy’s digital marketing strategy practice, suggested that people put an end to death by powerpoint.

Linda Descano, a managing director at Citi, wrote about unconventional ways to boost your career over the summer.