width=269In order to have a productive career discussion with your manager, it is important for you to prepare and think through some key items ahead of time. You want to be in full control of your career path and the best way to do that is to approach your manager with confidence and conviction around your career goals. To prepare for the discussion, start by answering some basic questions about yourself and your career:

What is your personal mission statement with regard to your career?
This response should focus on what you hope to achieve through your career.

What are your values?
This response should include your top five values in your life. The importance of answering this question is to be sure your career goals match your current values. For example, if you value innovation, that influences your career choice and objectives.

What are your motivators?
This response includes examples of what motivates you. Is it fast-paced work with short
deadlines? Is it structured work or flexible work? As with your values, you want to be sure your career objectives align with your motivators

What is your short-term career objective?
This response should be about where you see yourself in the next 12 months. If you want to be in a new assignment, then you should state that, as well as what that assignment could be. If you want to remain in your current role but perhaps take on additional duties, then include that information in this question response.

What is your long-term career objective?
This response highlights your ultimate career objective. Some people do not know what this is but if you do, it is important to share it with your manager. This helps your career plan to be tailored towards reaching your ultimate career objective.

What are your strengths?
This response focuses on your current strengths that you can leverage as you grow in your career.

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What are your developmental areas?
This is about the areas where you need to grow so you can reach your career objective.

What are you willing to do in the next 12 months to reach your career objective(s)?
This response should focus on some specific, tactical items that you can work on over the next 12 months. Consider this your action plan to reach your objective.

After you have these questions answered and feel comfortable with your responses, it is time to share this information with your manager. Ask your manager for input on your career objectives and whether they feel these are reasonable and achievable. Ask them for input on your strengths and development areas and also request their support of our action plan. This will aid in your ability to be successful in reaching your objectives. By taking the time to answer these questions and prepare for your career discussion, it will be much more productive and, hopefully, a more engaging discussion for both you and your manager.