Approaching a manager to discuss your next career move or request a raise are examples of two conversations that create anxiety for many employees. Fortunately at Sodexo, we have an annual conversation with our managers about our professional development and future career goals. This meeting is a scheduled conversation that encourages open conversation and allows each manager to be a mentor and partner in our professional growth.
But what if you don’t have this type of relationship with your manager? Where do you start when you feel it’s time to pursue career advancement?
1. Do your homework.
What have you done in the past six months or year that would qualify you to move into a new role? Make a list of all of your accomplishments and the ways you have positively impacted your department and your company. You need to be able to demonstrate that you’re ready for new challenges. For example, does your accomplishment list match the expectations for your current role or does it show that you’ve gone above and beyond? Does your list specifically show your potential for growth into a new role?
Identify the position you want to move into and read the job description closely. Do you have the skills and experience required for that role? Have you exhibited the leadership qualities expected in that role or managed similar projects? Do you need to add any skills to your resume? Now is the time to reflect on where you have been and where you want to go.
2. Timing Could Be Everything
While the annual review process could be a natural time for these types of conversations, you may want to approach your manager at another time during the year. In fact, having regular conversations with your manager will help build an open dialogue about your professional ambitions and advancement opportunities within your company. He or she may have some advice to help get you there faster or with greater success.
If this is the first time you’re approaching your boss, it’s important to plan your meeting appropriately so that you don’t catch him or her off guard. Send an e-mail requesting a meeting to discuss your performance and potential. This will give your manager time to prepare for the meeting. Regularly check for new internal listings that are a good fit for your background and experience and use them as examples of your future ambition.
Once you have a list of prospective roles for your future, research the skills needed for each position. This will give you time to strengthen them, through professional development opportunities before applying and interviewing for a specific job.
3. Follow Procedures
Sometimes as an internal applicant, employees subconsciously think they’re a “sure thing” because they already work for the company. The truth is that you have to work just as hard as an external candidate to be noticed and selected for the job.
Follow all application processes accordingly. Ensure that your resume is up to date and reflects your recent accomplishments. Also, give interviews the respect they deserve – dress appropriately and prepare yourself just like when you applied for your current role. Don’t assume that the hiring manager or recruiter already knows about you and what you’ve done within the company.
4. Follow Up
Most importantly, don’t forget to follow up. Thank you notes go a long way to impress those who interviewed you. You might even consider sending one to your current manager who has helped you along the way through this process.
If you’re not selected after the interviews are done or the timing is not right, talk with your manager and ask for feedback about how you can gain the necessary experience to be considered for similar roles in the future.
Your success in advancing your career relies strongly on your preparation. The best advice I heard once was to show your potential by being an exemplary employee in your current role. The more you act like the person you want to be, the more likely you are to get there.
Trish is a senior communications manager for Sodexo, a world leader in quality of daily life solutions that contribute to the progress of individuals and the performance of organizations. As a member of the marketing and communications team for Sodexo’s Talent Acquisition department since 2010, Trish is an employment expert who aims to educate job candidates about the hiring process, networking opportunities and the culture of Sodexo. A graduate of Marist College (BA – Psychology) and the University of Southern Mississippi (MS – Public Relations), Trish has never been far from the classroom. As a former adjunct professor for the College of Charleston and professional advisor for the college’s Public Relations Student Society of America chapter, she enjoys helping students reach for their potential and guide them through the process of preparing for their future careers. A lover of technology and gadgets, cookies, chocolate and baking, Trish spends most of her free time raising two small children and competing with husband to obtain the most stamps in her National Parks Passport book. Feel free to connect with Trish or learn more about careers at Sodexo.