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.

 

 

Are You Choosing the Right Professional References?

Sometimes professional references are the last step between you and your dream job. Often, employers check your references as the very last step before offering you the job.

So how much thought have you put into choosing your references?

Until a formal offer is made, the job isn’t yours. But it can be easy to lose your strategic edge when choosing which professional references to list. When it comes to job search advice, choosing the right references is right up there with a strong resume and polished cover letter.

Be sure to choose professional references who demonstrate these traits:Professional references advice

  • They will take the request seriously. Sometimes former colleagues are also friends – that happens to many of us throughout our careers. But choosing friends isn’t typically a good choice when it comes to your career. Employers who choose to speak with professional references are doing so because they value the insight such references can provide. If you choose someone (or some people) who are unprepared or don’t take the role of professional reference seriously, it can most definitely damage your reputation and result in someone else receiving the job offer. When employers ask you for references, they’re expecting you to choose the people who will position you in the best possible light, and who will be prepared to talk about why you’re a great fit for their organization. If you don’t choose the very best references now, what kind of message does that send employers about the types of choices you’ll make on the job?
  • They can express themselves well verbally (or possibly in writing). Most professional references are contacted via phone to discuss you and your qualifications, but from time to time employers will reach out via email. To be sure your bases are covered, you should present professional references who are comfortable expressing themselves both verbally and in writing. At this point in the process, your professional references are literally “selling” you, so be certain to choose individuals who are comfortable expressing why you’re the right choice.
  • They understand your weaknesses (and can position them well). We all have weaknesses. In all likelihood, you discussed yours during the interview process. But your potential new employer isn’t done talking about them – your professional references should be prepared to discuss them as well (and how you can turn them into strengths). If you’re choosing professional references who served as a direct supervisor, colleague or client, they likely have had an opportunity to see you “in action” and can formulate some thoughts on your strengths and weaknesses. But this your career – don’t be afraid to take charge and talk to your references ahead of time about your weaknesses. You don’t want to give the impression you’re telling your references what they should say. But, having a candid conversation where you ask for insight into your strengths and weaknesses can help prepare your references for having that same conversation later with a recruiter.

If you’re ready to submit your references to an employer, you’re near the finish line – congratulations! But if you’re still looking for your next career opportunity, call Helpmates. We work with top employers across Southern California, and we’ll help you find the right job to reach your goals. Search our open jobs or contact your nearest Helpmates office now to get started.

All the News That’s Fit to Know

Industry news can give your career a boost115020861

Keeping up with the news in your profession can be complicated and overwhelming, especially in a specialized industry. In fact, monitoring the latest trends and big names may seem like more work than it’s worth—but it could be the key to spotting and securing your next position. By staying on top of your game, and everyone else’s, you’ll prove yourself as the most in-the-know candidate.

Be prepared for interviews

Interviews are an opportunity for recruiters and hiring managers to get to know potential new hires, and to pinpoint their strengths and weaknesses to determine whether they’ll be assets to the company. Questions about current industry trends can clue in an interviewer to how dedicated you are to your field—whether you’re truly involved, or just skating by. By answering with knowledge and insight, you’ll portray yourself as a noteworthy candidate and put yourself ahead of the competition.

Capitalize on opportunities

By keeping up with trends and company activities, you’ll be among the first to learn about new opportunities in your field. A regular follower of industry news knows the signs of emerging trends, and is often one of the first to discover job openings and niche areas for expansion. It pays off throughout your career, as well—you’ll be better connected to customer needs and industry changes. Not only will you reflect this in an interview, but you’ll also bring the knowledge into your everyday work.

Stay socially connected

Most savvy job seekers have professional social profiles. Just having the social media presence isn’t enough. To be truly plugged in—and really know your stuff and impress employers—take it a step further and use your profiles to comment on industry news, share your work-related accomplishments, and network with others in your profession. Hiring managers will notice your involvement and, more importantly, will notice if it’s lacking.

How to get there

Keeping up with industry news isn’t helpful unless you can parse through all the information to glean the important pieces. Gather the big-name blogs and useful websites together in an RSS feed for clean, convenient access. Social networks provide an easy way to follow thought leaders and industry bigwigs, keeping you aware of industry trends as well as business practices and attitudes in general. Offline, attend networking events and build contacts with fellow professionals. What you learn face-to-face can be just as valuable as online info, and connections are still very vital to success.

The more you know

From quickly picking up on career opportunities to winning over interviewers to advancing your career, industry news can be your ticket to a thriving work life. Read, post, and network your way to the top of your field.

Helpmates has been ranked among the top 1% of staffing companies nationwide by our candidates and employees.  Contact Helpmates Certified Staffing Professionals today, to learn how they can help develop your job search strategy.

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