5 Career Path Questions For Your Boss

Performance reviews and one-on-ones with management are excellent opportunities for employees who want to advance their careers. Despite this, many employees don’t make opportunity part of the one-on-one meeting with manager agenda, either due to nervousness on the part of the employee or a focus on immediate issues rather than long-term planning.

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This is a waste of a valuable career resource, as managers have the knowledge, experience, and influence to help you make your career dreams realities. Here are some good questions to ask your manager during performance reviews and check-ins.

Is My Goal Attainable?

Committing to a career plan gives people the drive and motivation to pursue their goals. Unfortunately, that same enthusiasm makes it difficult to evaluate career aspirations with an unbiased eye.

Discuss your three- or four-year career plan with your manager, and ask if your goals are realistic. Can the company provide advancement that’s in line with your plans? Your manager has a better idea of the organization’s big picture than you and can help you determine if your career path is possible.

What Are My Options?

You may want to add this question to your one-on-one meeting with manager agenda even if your current career path is attainable (and definitely ask this if your current career aspirations turn out to be unfeasible). Your manager may be aware of opportunities you haven’t considered. Be open to suggestions–sometimes the ideal career path is the one you didn’t know existed.

What Do I Need to Do to Advance My Career?

Ask your manager to help you evaluate any gaps in your current career profile. What experience, skills, and knowledge will you need to fill these gaps? Should you be fostering relationships with influential employees or managers? Identify areas in which you’ll need or want to improve over the course of your three- to five-year plan.

Can You Recommend Upcoming Development Opportunities?

Your manager may be able to recommend upcoming development opportunities. Such opportunities may include conferences, training seminars, or a chance to work on an upcoming project. She may suggest employees who can act as mentors or who would be willing to let you shadow them as they work on projects. Create an action plan to complete one such opportunity, breaking it down into tasks you can complete between performance reviews.

What Would You Do Differently?

Let’s wind up our list of good questions to ask senior management with a personal one. Ask your manager about his career. What worked for him? What would he do differently if he had the opportunity? This question provides a chance to learn from your manager’s experience. Most managers will be glad to share their career stories (we all like to talk about ourselves), and by asking, you’re using emotional intelligence to strengthen the employee/manager relationship.