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Would you share your career ambitions with your employer?

Telling your employer that you want to take on more responsibility and make progress in your career seems like it should be a positive conversation. But what if your long term ambitions don't include them?

Erica Sosna is CEO of Career Matters, Career Navigation Consultant and author of Your Life Plan.

She shared her advice on how to take a proactive approach to identifying your ambitions and managing your career to realise your goals.  

Do you know what your ambitions are?

"When it comes to other major events in our lives, most of us are inclined to think long and hard about exactly what we want – whether it’s going on holiday, buying a house or even starting a family."

"But, can we really say that we put the same kind of time and thought into deciding what we want from our career?"

"The starting point needs to be deciding what success looks like to you. Whether that’s having a good work life balance, travelling the world or taking on a senior leadership position, identifying what you want to achieve long term is the first step to making a plan for your career."

"Taking this approach allows you to make decisions that will ultimately lead you towards this goal, shaping your career around your path to success."

Long term and short term steps to realise your goals

"Identifying what success means to you is only the first step – the next challenge is to create your plan to achieve it."

"This means looking at what you can do in the immediate future to bring you closer to your goals as well as having a long-term notion of what you want to achieve."

"In the short term, planning for the next twelve months is often the most practical – this gives you a long enough time frame to pursue significant goals while still making progress fast enough to track your success."

"Taking these steps doesn’t have to mean making an immediate and drastic change in your life – even if your current job isn’t going to lead to you realising your ambitions in the long term, it’s still possible to work on projects, pursue training and build contact networks that can move you closer to your goals."

Sharing your career plan with your employer

"We know that people who don’t feel that their current job is moving them closer to their goals are less engaged and productive at work."

"If you have a good relationship with your manager, then it can benefit both of you to be open with them about your long-term goals."

"Many employers recognise that it’s increasingly rare for professionals to stay with a single company for their entire career, and being open about your long-term plans can actually help build trust."

"However, it’s important to frame the conversation in the right way. Make it clear to your employer that you want to find ways in which you pursuing your goals can benefit them as well."

"Whether it’s expanding your contact network, taking ownership of projects, or managing stakeholders, the same opportunities that can allow you to expand your skill set can also yield benefits for your employer."

"It’s also important to consider the timing of this conversation with your employer. During the interview process it may be premature to already be discussing your long-term plans and how this role is a stepping stone to realising them."

"However, once you have secured the role and demonstrated your ability to provide results for your employer, it may be the right time to discuss your ambitions and how you can work together to achieve them."

"Long term career satisfaction has to begin with deciding what success means to you."

"Once you know what you want to achieve, with a collaborative and proactive approach, you can work with your employer to set and realise your goals."


Erica Sosna is the author of Your Life Plan, a featured TEDX speaker and CEO and Founder of Career Matters.


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