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June 21, 2024

How to Advocate for Your Career Goals

This month, we’re celebrating Pride Month! One of the insights from our “Winning LGBTQ+ Talent” research study revealed that 29% of employees who identified as LGBTQ+ often feel frustrated by a lack of opportunities to achieve their personal goals at work. Personal goals at work can vary from career advancement and skill development to recognition, work-life balance, and a supportive environment. This issue isn’t isolated to the LGBTQ+ community—many professionals from diverse backgrounds feel similar frustrations around career pathing and advancement.

If you feel stuck, not learning, or growing in your career or the skill sets you’re interested in, this blog is for you! Here are some practical steps to help you advocate for your career goals and build a strong support network in the workplace.

 

1. Self-Assessment and Conversation Prep

• Think about your career aspirations and skills you want to develop. What excites you about your role and where do you see yourself in the future? Identify the most important goals to you and what support and resources you would need to achieve them.

• Review past performance reviews and seek feedback from colleagues to understand your strengths and areas for improvement.

• Check job descriptions for roles you aspire to. Note the required skills and experiences, and identify any gaps in your current skillset. This will help you understand what areas you need to focus on to achieve your career goals.

• Understand your company’s guidelines on diversity, inclusion, and career development. Knowing these guidelines can help you align your goals with the company’s support systems and resources.

 

2. Effective Communication with Your Manager

• Ask your manager for a one-on-one meeting to discuss your career goals. A simple, “Can we chat about my career growth sometime this week?” can set the tone.

• Clearly explain your goals, why they are important, and how achieving them will benefit both you and the company. Use concrete examples and data to support your case.

• Be specific about the areas where you need guidance and ask for actionable steps to improve. Prepare a list of topics and questions to ensure a productive discussion. For example, “What skills should I focus on developing to advance to the next level?” or “Can you suggest any projects that would help me grow in this area?”

 

3. Leverage Support Networks

Connect with mentors and allies inside and outside your organization. Here are some steps to find them:

• Look for senior colleagues who have experience in areas you want to grow. Don’t hesitate to ask for mentorship with a simple message like, “I admire your career path and would love to learn from your experiences. Can we set up a time to chat?” Attend company events, workshops, and networking sessions to meet them.

• Join Affinity or Employee Resource Groups if available. Participate in their events and activities to build connections and gain support.

• Use platforms like LinkedIn to find mentors outside your organization. Join relevant groups, follow industry leaders, and engage with their content.

 

4. Track Your Goals

• Create a plan with your manager to achieve your goals, setting measurable milestones to track your progress.

• Schedule regular check-ins to discuss your progress and any adjustments needed. Keep the conversation ongoing and positive.

• Be persistent and continue to communicate your needs and progress regularly. Advocacy for your personal goals is an ongoing process, so keep the lines of communication open.

• Regularly reflect on your progress and adjust your goals or strategies as needed based on feedback and changing circumstances.

 

 

Embracing these strategies will help you take charge of your career, ensuring you can grow and thrive in a supportive environment. Celebrate your progress and keep pushing towards your goals. You’ve got this!

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