If you’re lucky enough to work for someone who wants you to succeed and help you develop your career, then you will at some stage be asked to participate in a career planning conversation process. To get the most out of this process you will need to:
Be honest and open. Talk about your career aspirations in terms of what you want, rather than what you think the person wants to hear, or what someone else thinks they should be.
Be prepared to ask questions of your supervisor. This is particularly important if your aspirations include partnership. It is important to ask pertinent questions about the path to partnership so you have as much information as you can get.
Discuss your current work in terms of your career path – are there any projects or work types you need to have experience with? Are there any clients or other partners to whom you need exposure?
Document your agreed goals as a career plan and diarise to follow up and check on your progress. If necessary, arrange quarterly meetings with your supervisor to check on your progress and realign your goals if you have gone off track. Your first career plan can form the basis of your next performance review and an annual career planning discussion.
Allow for change – life is evolving and so are careers. You need to be prepared to be able to make changes to your plan as things change. This can include your interests – just because you think in one direction at the age of 27 doesn’t mean you have to be stuck with that for the next 30 years!
Accept that responsibility for your career is yours – even if your firm supports you and provides you with lots of development opportunities, it is your responsibility to take advantage of them and develop a sustainable career.