When it comes to developing and nurturing your career, there’s only one person that you can count on. That’s right, it’s you. While it can be very useful to have a trusted mentor, it’s not always going to be your boss. Not all managers are as invested in your personal career growth as they are in the company’s success, meaning any mentoring they offer you could be influenced by the company’s needs, and not your own.
Yet again, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t expect anything from them. Here are five basic but direct questions you should be asking your manager to ensure you’re making the most of their guidance:
5 Career Questions to Ask Your Manager
1. Can I Have an Annual or Biannual Review?
While some companies offer employees an annual review, others do not. But if you ask for a review, your manager is not likely to refuse you. A review is an excellent way to receive constructive feedback on your performance, set goals, and establish benchmarks for salary increases and promotions.
2. Can We Work on a Career Plan Together?
This is a great question to ask your manager early on in your career. If they’re aware of your career goals, having helped you set them, they can support you in attaining them. Having a career plan is a broad, larger project that will facilitate the more specific questions we have listed next.
3. What New Knowledge or Skills Will Help Me Be More Effective?
If you aspire to move upward and onward along your career path, at your current company or elsewhere, this question is essential. Your boss is the perfect person to tell you what skills you need to develop, not just to be more effective in your current role, but to advance as well.
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4. Can You Give Me Some Feedback on ________?
Asking your manager for feedback related to a specific area is a sure way to receive constructive criticism as well as positive reinforcement, both of which will help your career in the long run. Asking for ongoing feedback and support keeps the lines of communication open between you and your manager and demonstrates your maturity.
5. What Are Your Goals for the Coming Year?
It’s not always about you. Perhaps this isn’t the first question that you’d ask your manager, but it’s crucial to know your manager’s goals as it’ll help you do two things. Firstly, it’ll help you know how to be valuable to your boss, which can never hurt your career. Secondly, understanding your manager’s goals gives you a more global understanding of the company’s objectives in general. Keeping the “big picture” in mind, and knowing where you fit in, is key to developing perspective.