Get Your Boss on Board with Your Career Development Plan

It’s the most wonderful time of the year—the time for year-end performance reviews and goal-setting for 2015. If you’ve been feeling stalled in your current job, now is a great time to consider creating a career development plan to help you gain momentum through the next 12 months and beyond.

While this career development plan is uniquely yours, getting your boss on board with your goals is important—s/he can help spot opportunities for you to fulfill your plan and advocate for you when necessary with individuals higher up in the company.

1. Start with a Self-assessment

Before sitting down with your employer, take some time to do some honest analysis of your current and prospective employment situations. What about your current job excites you and motivates you to do better?  What skills and abilities do the more advanced workers in your field have that you want to develop or improve upon? What visions do you have for yourself and your career?

2. Clue Your Supervisor in to the Conversation  

Once you’ve completed your self-assessment, schedule some time to talk one-on-one with your supervisor. To maximize the time you have together, explain in advance what you’d like to achieve through the conversation, and consider attaching a summary of your self-assessment work to the meeting invitation.

3. Get Feedback                                                 

When you meet, invite your supervisor to provide feedback on your self-assessment. You may think you know yourself perfectly, but we can’t always see all of our weaknesses—or our strengths, for that matter! Getting an outsider’s perspective is important to truly understand your strengths and areas for development.

4. Make a Plan

Once you’ve come to an agreement with your supervisor on directions for future growth, make these ideas actionable. Start by setting some short-term goals (those which can be achieved within a year) and some medium-range goals (those requiring 2-5 years to complete): These goals should make sense to you personally, to your current position and to the organization.

Next, determine how you’ll achieve those goals. Work with your supervisor to identify relevant learning, training and leadership activities, as well as the resources needed for you to achieve success.

5. Return, Review, Revise

Once you’ve completed your plan, return to it frequently with your employer to ensure that you’re staying on track with your career development goals. But don’t consider it set in stone. Priorities and situations change over time, and it may be necessary to review and revise your plan multiple times as you advance in your career.

Need help getting started with your career development plan? Visit your local Goodwill career center to receive free help from an employment specialist, or join GoodProspects®, where you can get advice from peers, mentors and industry experts.