Engaging in career conversations

When thinking about your career and what you want to achieve, it can be difficult to know who to speak to. There are many different people, both within the workplace and outside that can support your development.

A great place to start is by approaching your line manager as you work with them daily, and they should know you best within the workplace. Your line manager will be aware of your strengths and skills that can be developed and may be aware of internal opportunities that may be suitable for you. You could also speak to your network of colleagues. You can learn from their experiences, and if there is a role you are aspiring to, then speaking to other departments can help you understand ways to achieve this. You could also approach HR. They will be able to explain more general things such as the promotion process, any internal opportunities or training you could attend. It will allow you to see the bigger picture of the organisation.

Friends and family are also great to approach. They know you best. They have seen you at your happiest and know what motivates you. It is great to discuss your thoughts with them and allow them to express their views.

When you decide to have a conversation with your line manager it can be difficult to know where to start or how to get the most out of the conversation. I would always recommend starting with preparation. Think about where you are currently and what you have achieved and how you have developed over the past few months. This will allow you to see how far you have come and think about where you would like to go next. This should help you to develop a career plan, and I would recommend sharing this information with your line manager before the meeting to give your line manager the opportunity to think about where they see you developing and what areas they can support with. By being prepared you will be able to have an open and honest conversation about what you want and what is achievable. Once you have had a detailed discussion be sure to plan, set time frames with your line manager and pencil in your next review.

When you put together your plan think about using the S.M.A.R.T. technique.


  • Specific – What do you want to achieve? How will you do it? Go into detail.
  • Measurable – What data will you use to decide whether you’ve met the goal?
  • Achievable – Do you have the right skills and resources to achieve the goal?
  • Relevant – Does the goal align with your long-term goal or the goals of the organisation?
  • Timely – Set yourself a deadline for accomplishing your goal.


Once your career plan is in place or you have set yourself some goals, you’ll need to look at ways to develop your skills. When you think about developing your skills you should consider both workplace skills and personal skills such as public speaking, working in a team, listening and training. There are various ways you can develop your knowledge and skills such as:

  • Networking – Joining online and in-person groups will expose you to more people who can provide you with valuable information about their careers, offer you help and identify any skills you can develop. It is also a great idea to talk to peers, family, friends and colleagues; you can learn from all of them.
  • Research – Look online to discover more about the skills you need to develop.
  • Work experience or experience within a different team – By gaining experience within a different team or setting, it will allow you to learn from others and see other ways of working.
  • Attend courses – Online courses are a great way to develop your skills. It also demonstrates your ability to research, your determination and willingness to improve yourself.

For more information:

If you would like to discuss anything in more detail, please contact our CEIAG Coordinator.

Email: Hannah.Bennett@damartraining.com

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