Preparing for a career development conversation with your manager

Being able to talk to your manager about your career is absolutely necessary to get the most out of your current role and know what the next steps look like. Performance development conversations are perfect for this, it usually happens around performance review time.

In performance reviews we look at how well have performed over the last 6-12 months (none of that should be a surprise as you should be receiving regular feedback), and we look at what the next 6-12 months will look like.

+ What goals do you want to achieve?
+ Are you interested in a promotion?
+ What do you have left to develop in your current role?
+ Where do you see yourself in 12 months time? In your current role? Promoted? New company?

These are all things that need to be discussed with your manager so you can both play a part in how you develop over the next 6-12 months. It also signals to your manager what type of work you need to be exposed to or if secondment or job shadowing opportunities can help to up-skill you.

This conversation can sometimes feel daunting because you’re not sure how to talk about what you want. This is where planning will help you.

Think about the following things and back them up with examples and reasoning:
+ Are you looking for more challenges and opportunities in your role? Why? How will that benefit you?
+ What projects do you want more exposure to? What skills will that work help you grow?
+ What does the next step in your career look like? Promotion to Senior? Side step into a specialised area?
+ When do you want to take the next step? Six months? 12 months?
+ Does the company you currently work for offer the next step you’re looking for? If not, what would you be looking for in the next company?

Thinking about the future is a great thing, but don’t let it spiral you into a state of panic and anxiety. Take time out to really think about what you’re looking for, what do you want over the next 12 months and think about whether you can get that where you are now or if you need to look further afield.

Be honest with your manager if you feel comfortable to do so. Sometimes managers can get caught up in the day to day pressure of their own roles that they might not see small opportunities that could help you grow, so make them aware of it. When we bring awareness to something, we start to notice it everywhere.

Have you had that happen? You think about buying a Mazda 3 and all of a sudden you see 10 on your way to work!

This will help both you and your manager notice opportunities in different situations that may not have been obvious before. It may keep you at the company for another 12-24 months, or it may not. You won’t know unless you start the conversation!

Good luck!

If you want support on how to prepare or an objective person to bounce ideas off, get in touch! I would love to help!