How to Talk to Your Boss about Career Advancement

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Over time, many people begin to feel bored with their jobs. Perhaps you have held the same position for five years and none of the projects or clients you encounter seem challenging any more. In these situations, you may think about applying to a new job, whether at your current company or elsewhere. If you like your company, however, and no positions are currently available, consider having a talk about career advancement with your boss. This thought can be scary, but you can take a few key steps to protect yourself while also communicating your ambition.

Before approaching your boss about career advancement, be sure that you have a good relationship with him or her. Building a great relationship does not involve flattering your boss at every opportunity. Instead, you should strive to be known as an attentive and loyal employee who works diligently to understand the boss’ expectations and meet them. Bosses appreciate proactive and solution-oriented employees who they can trust with difficult tasks.

Make a plan before you approach your boss. You should know exactly what you want and have a one-, three-, and five-year career plan prepared. By having a clear idea of what you’re seeking in terms of responsibilities and compensation, you can avoid wasting anyone’s time and have an open, honest discussion.

Making such a plan necessarily involves understanding the future of your company and your potential role in it. Ideally, if you’re at all interested in career advancement, you should begin the conversation about the company’s future during your interview process, and keep the discussion open afterwards as you settle into your job. Understanding the company’s goals allows you to align them with your own and to work more effectively in your current position in terms of meeting personal and corporate objectives.

Your boss likely has not kept a close account of all your accomplishments. In reality, this is your job. Keep a log of what you have done for the company and a record of the assignments at which you excelled. In addition to bringing these records to any meeting about career advancement, you can meet with your boss every so often to discuss your accomplishments and ask for feedback. These sorts of meetings demonstrate your willingness and desire to improve.

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