Tips for Discussing Career Goals With Your Boss

You’re bright and ambitious, and you want to move your career forward. You want to climb the ranks. If this sounds like you, you should consider enlisting the guidance of a mentor who can guide you along the proper path. This individual should have the experiences that will be of most benefit to you and be willing to share information and offer insights when you need them. And sometimes the person who checks all of these boxes is actually your boss.

Are you surprised? Think about it for a moment. Although it could be a risky move to approach your manager and disclose your ultimate goals or plans, if it’s done correctly, you will have a tremendous opportunity to both learn from and build a stronger relationship with your boss.

So how do you go about making this connection without your boss feeling threatened or concerned you’re planning to someday leave the company to pursue other opportunities? Timing is critical, as is your way of communicating your career goals.

Here are a few suggestions:

Ask your boss for some time to talk

Find a time that works into your boss’s schedule and one that allows enough time to talk about your plans and goals. Tell your boss ahead of time what you want to discuss. That will give them some extra time to come up with ideas ahead of the meeting.

When you go into the meeting, be prepared to emphasize that you would like their support and guidance and you’re not looking to move to another company—you only want to move up in your current organization. Being diplomatic and sincere will go a long way toward getting your boss to be your advocate.

Say the right things

The meeting with your boss is essential and requires you prepare in order to get the desired results. Spend an adequate amount of time considering how your boss might be able to help you and be ready to show that you’re prepared for challenging assignments, additional training or anything else that can help you get to the next level.

Keep the conversation positive, explaining that you’ve spent time learning your job and about the organization as a whole. At that point, you could ask for ideas for advancing your career.

Avoid dangerous minefields

Conversations about ambitions, career and money can be stressful. Keeping your emotions in check is essential. You’re asking your boss to help you move your career forward and give you an opportunity for more prominent roles, and that can sound threatening. If you know your boss’s personality, you’ll have a better handle on whether to approach cautiously or openly.

Once a boss understands an employee’s career goals, they will typically start looking for assignments and projects to help enhance your skills.

Are you searching for a job at which you can grow?

At United Personnel, we’ll use our 30-plus years of experience to guide you toward a job that’s right for you. Whether it’s a short-term placement or a direct hire position you’re looking for, we can help you find it. 

When you’re ready to make a move, make us your first contact!