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Fattening Up Your Professional Waistline

You may still be finishing up the last of the three trays of Russian teacakes, or your holiday hangover could already be in full tilt.

In any case, say ‘So long!’ to 2016 and ‘Howdy partner!’ to the early, promising days of 2017.

To kick off your year on the right foot, here are a few things to spruce up your professional self.

Take LinkedIn for a Drive

Throughout the holidays, there’s hardly a shortfall of greeting cards or goodies – card after card and cookie after cookie sort of blend into one another (except buttercream frosted sugar cookies, which never get old). You’re keeping up with the holiday hustle, just hoping to make it to year’s end. And, by some miracle, you did it!

Let’s not lose sight of that extra holiday package left after the tree gets packed up: the lull of January and February. That’s right, the lull.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year to peruse your LinkedIn network, give a friendly hoot and holler to let your connections know what you’re up to and to see how their holidays were. It could be nothing more than a quick little update on where you’re working or maybe services you’re offering, or need, down the road.

After hundreds of holiday emails and cards, people look forward to a cheery, perky personal note in the throes of winter.

Get Up and Get Out

All the pearls of wisdom of reaching out to your virtual network can also happen in the real world! Find an industry mixer and go rub elbows with colleagues and soon-to-be ones.

This is all about proactive business development. That’s fancy talk for get yourself out there, let people know what you’re doing, and see if some opportunities come as a result of some friendly old conversation. Cocktails may or may not be included.

Brand Primping

This is not 100% necessary to do when you reach out to folks, but you may want to think about some brand bedazzlement, whether it’s your own personal brand or your company’s.

Brand tweaking, updates or makeovers take time, much more time than we think at the onset. If you think you have to wait until everything’s perfect, you won’t get out there until Halloween (and you’ll miss summertime!).

With the calendar flipping, it’s a good time to take a fresh look at what you’d like to do, set some goals, and figure out what you need to improve your brand.

A few ways to improve might be a little SEO, a website refresh or maybe adding a second or third social media component?

In any case, take some inventory of what you’re doing, put a plan in place to make your brand better, and when everyone else is just starting to get out from under the holiday fog, you’ll be six steps ahead.

Dan Dean is a freelance writer who enjoys storytelling in all of its forms, as well as creating blogs that create and promote community. He is also the founder of M Powerment, a national non-profit designed to help men thrive after cancer.

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