You need careers advice. Have you asked your boss yet?

Posted by Laura Brammar on 03-Mar-2016 10:30:00
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What do you expect from your boss?  To let you know how you’re getting on in your job? To answer any questions you have about your work load?  How about to develop your long term career and give you career advice?

The Careers Group, University of London recently conducted some research into the career development expectation of recent graduate recruits, in this case trainee lawyers, which paints a clearer image of the expectations and needs of early career lawyers.

What we want from our bosses

It is clear from this research that many graduate recruits within organisations have specific expectations of their line manager in terms of their on-going career development.


One interesting statistic is that 93% expect their line manager to make sure that they have the training they need for their career. Indeed, line managers were identified by 97% of respondents as being the most important source of informal career development support.

What does this mean in practice?

Consider talking to your boss or line manager about your long-term career prospectsIt’s clear that for many of us our line manager has a responsibility to support their longer term career development, far beyond the boundaries of the day job performance, although provision of clear feedback on job performance was identified as the most common expectation of line managers. It’s also about helping that individual to successfully navigate their career going forward.

It seems that many recruits now look to their line managers as a key player in helping them to grow and shape their long term career.  Ways by which they would expect their boss to do that include being introduced to people who could help them with their career.

So, the question is how do you feel about feel about talking to your manager about your career and asking for advice?  Do you feel they would be helpful in terms of your longer term career considerations? If not, who else could help you explore these areas?

Let’s bring it back to you

Here are a few questions to help you reflect on your thinking in this area:

  • How might you approach your line manager regarding a ‘careers chat’?
  • What kind of things has your line manager said and done which makes you feel happy to talk to them about your career?
  • Who else in your organisation do you feel you could have this careers conversation with?
  • What, if anything, would stop you from having this sort of careers discussion with your peers at work?
  • How do you feel about talking to an independent careers coach, who isn’t connected to your workplace?

Download Career Development Expectations  of Early Career Lawyers survey

Of course it may well be that there are reasons why you’d rather not have this discussion with your current line manager. Walking through an official appraisal is one thing. Outlining your longer term career aspirations is another. Whilst you may be very happy to identify your immediate training needs, you may be less keen to share your on-going career plans with your current boss. Indeed you may feel that your boss will, perhaps understandably, find it very difficult to give you objective advice on your career intentions, which is not influenced by the firm’s current bottom line or the organisation’s latest set of KPIs.

It’s for this reason that many of our individual clients at The Careers Group Consultancy turn to us for independent, professional and quality careers coaching.  Many find it easier to talk through their career ideas with someone who doesn’t know them and who isn’t ‘invested’ in them, emotionally or financially, in the way that even a supportive line manager is.

Equally, we also work with organisations who want to upskill their line managers so they are able to offer career coaching to their direct reports. By helping managers to understand how to ask the right sort of questions and, crucially, listen in the right way we help develop their confidence in providing careers support to their teams.

Successful careers management isn’t alchemy. Neither is it just luck. It’s something which can be learned and developed through support from a range of sources.

So whether it’s with an independent careers coach or with your boss, isn’t it about time you started talking about your career intentions for the future?

Topics: career choice, Consultancy, leadership, Research

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