When you start out in your career, you don’t always get a lot of guidance. You may decide on a career path with a high salary potential, one that essentially monitors your interests or skills or commonly, you can fall into a career, based on your first job. You may find that career path or your specific job are not the right fit. That’s when it’s time to stand back, reassess and get some feedback on how you can unlock your true potential.
Who can help you with your career track?
Your career partners can include your manager, mentor, members of your network or a trusted recruiter. If you are honest with them about what works for you in your current role and what doesn’t, they can provide helpful feedback.
Your manager is likely to know your work better than anyone. They interact with you daily and know your strengths and weaknesses. If you do your job well, you may not engage with your manager regularly, because management time is often consumed with putting out fires or interacting with problem employees. You may need to ask your manager to set aside some time for a career conversation. Let them know what you’re looking for so they can prepare. If it’s acceptable in your company culture, you could even ask them to go offsite for lunch or coffee. Remember, you want this to be an informal conversation, not a performance review.
Ask your managers questions such as:
- What do you see as my greatest skills?
- What areas should I work on?
- Do you have any professional development recommendations for me?
- What internal positions do you recommend I set my sights on?
Ideally, they will give you honest answers, but don’t expect answers that would lead you outside of the company.
Not everyone is fortunate enough to have an engaged and insightful manager. This is where a mentor can be helpful. You can ask them the same questions as suggested for managers, but the advantage is that they are not invested in keeping you with a specific company. They can give you a neutral assessment of your potential and can suggest fields that might be a good fit.
Your network is typically a combination of friends, family and colleagues. When you have a conversation, try to move past small talk to get into real conversations about what they like and dislike about what they do and the companies they work for. You may be able to uncover opportunities in fields you hadn’t considered but would mesh well with your interests and abilities.
Looking for a job? We’d love to partner with you!
At The Panther Group, our recruiting team has built relationships with a wide range of employers across many industries. Whether you want to make a big change or take the next step up the ladder, we can help you find the opportunity that’s right for you.
Call 855-899-JOBS (5627)