Leap year: Tips for using extra day on career and professional development

Leap year: Tips for using extra day on career and professional development

February 27, 20242 min read

Having an extra day in a leap year provides you with a unique opportunity to invest time in your career and professional development. Jill Gugino Panté, director of the Lerner Career Services Center at the University of Delaware, offers six ideas to maximize the day.

  • Dedicate time to enhance your skills. It is easy to find free courses, workshops and training videos on just about anything. Take five minutes to reflect on a skill you wish you had or were better, such as, say, Excel. YouTube, TikTok and LinkedIn Learning have hundreds of thousands of videos that can teach shortcuts, visual design, formulas and more.
  • Use the day for networking. Reach out to professionals in your industry and schedule informational interviews. Reconnect with old classmates, former bosses or colleagues from another department and invite them to meet for coffee or lunch. Spend the day talking with someone about your career/professional development goals.
  • Reflect on your career goals. Many of us do not take the time to articulate where we want to be this time next year or even four years from now. Start with three months, then move to six months, then a year. Do you want to learn a new skill? Meet with someone whose career you’ve admired? Change jobs? Ask for a raise? Career development can be thought of as a series of projects because thinking four years ahead can seem a little daunting. However, making goals for the next six months makes the process more manageable and tangible.
  • Update your career documents. This means not only your resume but your LinkedIn profile and professional bio. If you don’t have access to a Career Coach, use Generative AI (like Chat GPT) to help you write better bullet points or update your “About” section on LinkedIn. Keep in mind that AI should be viewed as a supportive tool rather than a replacement for your active involvement in the process. Maintain a personal touch and let your unique personality shine through in your application materials and interviews.
  • Focus on your well-being. How often do we get an extra day to focus on ourselves? And on this particular leap year, you may be feeling stressed and overwhelmed so focusing on career goals isn’t an option. Take the opportunity for self-care – go for a leisurely walk, engage in meditation or stretching exercises, or schedule an online session with a therapist or counselor. Investing time in personal wellness is important to address before you leap into professional development.

  • Make deliberate choices that not only contribute to your career growth but also foster a sense of well-being. Here's a pro tip: mark a "professional/personal development boost" block on your calendar for each leap year, ensuring you fully capitalize on the extra day. This strategic scheduling will serve as a reminder to prioritize both your professional growth and personal wellness.

To set up an interview with Gugino Panté, visit her profile and click on the contact button.

Connect with:
  • Jill Panté
    Jill Panté Director, Lerner College Career Services Center

    Prof. Panté can comment on workplace issues such as hiring, professional etiquette, personal branding, interviewing, and job search.

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