Does Your Career Need a Spring Cleaning?

Spring Flower Grape Hyacinth
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The dawn of Spring is always a good time to dredge up old Zen parables about renewal. Along with the first whiff of a hyacinth or even a lone patch of green, comes that familiar out-wth-the-old, in-with-the-new burst of energy. Is it time to apply that to your job search or career?

My Zen "Spring Cleaning" tale goes like this: A student went to visit a famous Zen master. The master served tea and rice while the student talked about his desire to learn Zen. The master filled up the rice bowl to the brim until it overflowed. Finally, distracted, the student blurted: "It's too full! No more will go in!" The Zen Master sighed, saying: "You are like this bowl. How can I show you Zen until you first empty this bowl?"Here's the first step to Spring Clean your career and clear out the rice bowl so you can fill it with new ideas, energy and inspirations in the coming months:

Take a piece of paper and write down (yes, go analog, with an actual pen or pencil) what clogged your rice bowl during these blustery, wintry days. What emotions rose up and overflowed? What feelings did you cram back down? What events filled that bowl? Don't worry about your penmanship, grammar or spelling -- just jot down what was in your wintry world.

Now take that piece of paper and read it out loud. Once. Twice. (Privacy is good.) Then take the paper and put it in an envelope. Write Winter on the outside. Finally -- you choose -- either take the envelope and put it in the freezer -- or take the envelope and put a match to it. That's right. Deep-freeze it. Or burn it. You can also take the envelope to church, add to the offering plate and give it over to God.

Whatever method you choose, you'll be cleaning up and clearing out the final remnants of a season you've now fully completed.

Your bowl is now gloriously empty and ready to be newly filled by the hope, discovery and energy coming your way as the sun rises in the spring sky. My advice? Apply your newfound perspective to:

Refresh your resume. Try some of the new visual tools and templates. Experimenting with a new look and feel -- font, spacing, formatting -- may freshen up your professional appearance.

Revisit your Linkedin profile. Scour those stale, non-effective keywords, descriptions, and interests. Check out the many new features the site has to help you land a new job or boost your career. Are there groups that have lost their usefulness for you? Find some new ones.

Reconnect with old friends and colleagues. People you care about but black ice and blizzards kept you from getting together. Many of them are undoubtedly feeling the same way you are -- time to recharge!
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