How to Talk to Your Boss About Career Growth

Career Growth

When you’re ready to take the next step in your career, it’s hard to know what growth will look like. Do you find a new job? Or do you make internal moves? There is a 5 step process for how to talk to your boss about career growth. 

Generally speaking, you should try to grow within your current organization before looking to shift jobs. So, being open with your manager is always a great first step. 

Here is my 5-step process for how to talk to your boss about career growth.

Step One: Identify Where You Want to Go

Many professionals assume their managers will tell them where to go. However, it’s important for you to decide where you want to go in your career—because the satisfaction comes when you’re an active participant. 

You want to make sure you identify where you want to go in the next 1-2 years. Are you looking for certain experiences? Do you want to manage a team? Be clear and specific. Outline in detail how many items are on your “must have” list. 

That’s the first step for how you talk to your boss about career growth. 

Step Two: Plan to Be Self-Reliant

You might assume your company will try to do all they can to grow your career… and they might try. The reality is, a lot of companies don’t invest many resources into employee development. The responsibility falls on you to be self-reliant in your career development.

You’re responsible for finding and scheduling any development opportunities, which I’ll talk about next. 

That’s step two for how to talk to your boss about career growth. 

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Step Three: Identify Opportunities 

The third step for how to talk to your boss about career growth is to identify opportunities. Anything that you may want to plan for in the future—conferences, certifications, workshops, work assignments, etc. 

Try to make a list that is aligned with where you want to go. For example, if you want to become a leader in your organization, you might look at a leadership development conference instead of a functional one. 

Make sure to have all costs associated with the conferences, certifications, etc. so you can get immediate approval from your supervisor. 

Step Four: Loop in Your Manager

You’ve finally made it to the conversation with your boss. When you have your conversation, be sure to prep you manager ahead of time for what you will be discussing. Whether it be an in person “comment” or a quick email saying, “I’d like to discuss professional development opportunities. 

Be sure to time this conversation in relation to your company’s performance reviews or annual budgets. If you time it appropriately, you’ll be able to get quicker approval. 

Step four for how to talk to your boss about career growth. 

Step Five: Be Open

Lastly, be open to what your manager has to say. You’ve done all the work to make it easy as possible for your boss. However, your boss might have some ideas for your growth that you didn’t know about. 

Ask if there is any for leadership training internally, or if they have a plan for a potential promotion. 

In the end, you want to be open and honest with your boss. Be prepared to take control of your development and use your company as a resource. 

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