Prepare for Your Career Talk with Your Manager

Have you ever discussed your career hopes with your manager? No? You’re not alone: too many employees, unfortunately, are not having these kinds of conversations with their supervisors. Many supervisors do not talk about career development with their employees during the performance review process.

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So, if you want to move ahead in your career, you need to take the bull by the horns and start the process yourself – and you don’t have to wait for your performance review to do it.

Preparation

The first step in this process is preparation. You need to have some idea about where you want to go before talking with your supervisor.

Begin by considering a few career issues. First, think about where you want to go with your career. As part of this, think about your values and whether they match up with your career goals. Review your strengths and weaknesses – how can you put your strengths to use in advancing your career, and what skills do you need to work on to move ahead?

What are your short-term and long-term career goals? For example, short-term – within the next year or so – do you want to move to another type of job or take on more responsibilities in your current position?

Longer term goals may be a bit more difficult to specify simply because of the time frame involved. But in general, you should be able to talk about what you want to accomplish in your career.

After you have contemplated all of these issues, develop a plan of action for achieving your goals.

Meeting with Your Supervisor

The first thing to do when you meet is to get some sense of how committed your supervisor is to helping you. You can begin by telling her that you want to talk about the next steps in your career, that you would like to advance within the company but are not sure how to make that happen.

Run through your achievements at the company during your time there and emphasize how much you have enjoyed working there. Then, observe the kind of feedback you get to gauge how supportive your supervisor is.

Talk to her about your goals for the coming years, giving her a general idea of where you would like to go professionally. For example, do you want to get involved with managing people or work more with clients? Also, discuss the skills you would like to acquire, as well as the knowledge you want to gain, and make sure to do so  within the context of how this can benefit the company.

If you are interested in a promotion, you have to let your supervisor know. You could ask her for ideas on what your next step should be. If the response is unbridled enthusiasm, you are off to a promising start.

On the other hand, you may simply get a blank stare, with little in the way of support or ideas. In this case, you will have to forge your own path if you want to stay at the company. Start by looking at other departments that can use your particular talents and where you can expand your knowledge and experience.

Check with colleagues at the company about possible opportunities, such as assignments or projects that you could get involved in.

Talk to your supervisor about what you would like to do and ask her to give his support to your efforts. If your performance has been noteworthy, she should be willing to do that. Review what your investigation has turned up and, working together, decide on a few possibilities that would be a good next step for your career and the best course of action to take. Ask your supervisor to take the appropriate actions to help you get started.

If you’re not sure where you want to go with your career, consider exploring a bit by working as a temporary associate with Helpmates. We have many terrific opportunities that can allow you to try out different industries and companies. What’s more, many of our assignments can turn into an offer of employment with our client (so long as both you think it’s a good idea).

Contact the Helpmates branch nearest you for more information.

 

 

Why Career Mentors Are Essential (And How to Find One)

Research shows that professionals with mentors are happier and more successful in their careers. In fact, research shows that employees who received mentoring were promoted five times more often than people who didn’t have mentors.

In an increasingly digital world, the importance of fostering and nurturing real-world relationships cannot be underestimated. When one (or more) of those relationships centers specifically around your career and personal development, the impact can be much more profound.workplace-1245776_640

The connection between mentors and success

From billionaire entrepreneurs to celebrities and athletes, the world’s most successful people have one thing in common: they have felt the profound impact of a mentor. Why does mentoring have such a big impact on success?

  1. They help you learn from their mistakes. Mistakes will happen to most people at some stage in their careers. Successful professionals accept their mistakes, dust off and learn from them to avoid more mistakes in the future. Mentees can fast track that process and learn from the mistakes of their mentors.
  2. They provide more than any book. In today’s information age, there are plenty of career books, blogs and other resources out there (including this one). While there is plenty of value within these resources, strong mentors can help you fill in the gaps to determine how the advice or tips you’re reading fit into your specific career and goals.
  3. They help you take action. Sometimes fear of the unknown can hold you back from taking new steps and journeys in your career. It’s in those times that you need an extra kick to actually take action. Your mentor can be the accountability partner needed to keep you on track and working toward your goals (rather than just talking about them).

Finding the right mentors is key

Reaping the benefits of mentorship requires the right relationship. Finding the right mentors, though, can seem like a daunting challenge to some professionals. Although you may be tempted, don’t ask a stranger to fill that role for you. Perhaps you’ve identified a successful individual in your field who you believe could teach you a significant amount. That’s great! But if you haven’t previously established a relationship with that person, now is not the time to ask. Try these tips instead:

  • Partner with a nonprofit. There are organizations across the country dedicated to helping professionals find mentors. Depending on your specific industry, you may even be able to find an organization that works solely within your specialty. Google “[your city] + mentors” to see what opportunities might exist in your specific area.
  • Get involved. Local chambers of commerce and other professional networking groups offer an excellent opportunity to meet new people. The relationships you build can naturally evolve into mentorship relationships down the road.
  • Don’t be too narrow. Careers are not limited to just one mentor. You may find mentors who help you grow in a variety of capacities (eg. leadership, sales, communication). There are a range of individuals who have skills that can help you, don’t rest on your laurels after you’ve identified one person who can help you.

Here at Helpmates, our recruiters serve as a career partner to help you reach your goals. We can help you find your next great job. Search our jobs in Southern California now or contact your nearest Helpmates office to get started.

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