How to discuss career advancement with your boss
Your company offers great career paths, and after a successful run in your current position, you’re confident you’re ready to advance. In other words, it’s time to talk with your boss about what the next step in your career will look like. Since this conversation could be one of the most important ones you’ll ever have in your career, it’s advisable to prepare properly.
Do you meet the requirements?
Before speaking to your manager about advancement, make sure you’ve acquired the skills and experience required for a more responsible role. You can find out what the requirements are by talking to someone in HR or another person in your company who’s familiar with the job. Once you have this information, objectively assess whether your current qualifications are sufficient.
If everything checks out, it’s time to prepare to present your case to your supervisor. As Sue Shellenbarger advises in her article titled “Your Blueprint for Career Advancement Needs Updating” for The Wall Street Journal, it’s helpful if you have a log of new and/or updated skills and certifications, as well as projects you’ve worked on and how your contributions helped make them a success. You can use this log to update your résumé and even create a document that details your accomplishments with the company.
Navigating the meeting
Now it’s time to request an official meeting with your supervisor. This will allow him or her to review your performance before your conversation. It’s also a good way to ensure you both set aside an appropriate amount of time to discuss your professional development without any interruptions.
Ideally, your supervisor will agree you’re ready for a promotion and promise to alert you when a job opens up. Nevertheless, it’s important to be prepared for constructive criticism. Your supervisor might feel you need more experience before you’re ready for the next step and suggest you assume more responsibilities in your current role. Instead of taking this personally, understand that your boss wouldn’t promote you to a position unless you possess the skills you need to succeed. At the same time, depending on your ultimate career objective, your supervisor could suggest a lateral career move to acquire additional skills. Regardless of the outcome of the conversation, always thank your supervisor for his or her insights.
After the meeting
After the meeting, take some time to reflect on the meeting before deciding what your next step will be. By objectively analyzing your supervisor’s feedback, you can gain a better understanding of your strengths and weaknesses. Then, whether you’re next in line for a promotion or not, your newly gleaned professional insights can help you improve your skills so that you avoid stagnation and keep your career moving forward on a positive trajectory.