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Why the best time for career planning is while you're still employed, and how to bring it up to your manager

B2 C Blog Career Coaching

Don’t wait till you’re unemployed. Invest in career coaching while still employed to clarify your path, set goals, build skills, and position you for success, be it a promotion or transition.

Whether you’re considering a change in your career path or simply want to ensure you’re on the right track, career coaching and proactive planning can be your guide to a successful and fulfilling professional journey.

Career development conversations with a career coach or your manager can help you identify your strengths, values, and career goals, giving you greater clarity on the next steps to take. It can also aid in the development of realistic goals and a roadmap to achieve them, whether seeking a promotion, a career change, or skill development.

Greater clarity and proactive career management can give you the self-assurance needed to pursue your career aspirations, increase job fulfillment and overall well-being.

Many of us have the misconception that career planning and coaching are solely for the unemployed or those who are dissatisfied with their current role. However, these conversations can be helpful regardless of current employment status.

The Best Time for Career Planning

In fact, the best time for career planning is while you’re still employed, here's why.

  • Financial stability: Having a job allows you to explore your options without immediate financial pressure.

  • Leveraging on existing connections: It also allows you to leverage existing professional connections which you may no longer have access to after leaving your current role. These connections may help bring up opportunities you wouldn’t otherwise find.

  • Immediate application of acquired skills: Planning the next step of your career while still in a job will also allow you to immediately use new skills in a professional setting.

  • More leverage during negotiations for internal opportunities: With your manager’s support, such career conversations may open opportunities within your current company. In this case, being a valuable employee can also potentially mean more leverage when negotiating for a promotion or a change in direction.

Tips for bringing up career conversations with your manager

How should you bring such conversations up to your manager? Here are some tips you may find helpful:

  • Be prepared: To facilitate a productive discussion with your manager, before bringing up the conversation, take some time to think about your career goals and areas of interest as well as how they align with your company values. If you realize that switching paths may be the best option, try to anticipate questions about your reasons for wanting to switch paths.

  • Schedule a dedicated meeting: Communicate your interest in professional development to your manager by scheduling a dedicated meeting. This will help display your seriousness towards taking the next step in your career and show that you value their guidance and time. Be sure to prepare your supervisor on the purpose of the meeting when bringing it up to ensure they are not caught by surprise.

  • Focus on growth within the company: Show enthusiasm for your future with the company while demonstrating a desire to learn and grow by first exploring internal opportunities or skill development programs aligned with your aspirations. This can be in the form of internal job shadowing or mentorship. While doing so, remember to present potential ideas for how your career development can benefit the company.

  • Maintain a positive and collaborative approach: During the conversation, be open to suggestions and collaborate on a growth plan that works for both you and your manager. Keep an open mind and be willing to explore options beyond your initial expectations. In the event your plan is rejected, express your understanding of their concerns and try to understand why. You can also ask for time to refine your plan based on your feedback and schedule a follow-up meeting to show your commitment and initiative.

In conclusion, taking charge of your career doesn't require a burning platform or a looming sense of dissatisfaction. Taking charge of your career, even while employed, can help you gain greater clarity on your goals and your future trajectory, build valuable skills, and position yourself for a promotion or a smooth transition to a new path. With a proactive approach and the right support, you can navigate career changes with confidence and unlock your full potential.

Ready to take the first step towards a fulfilling career? Explore more resources or let our recruiters help you get a great job and succeed on the job.

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