Career Conversations: Ideas for growing your professional development

graphic outlining the career conversation steps

The Career Conversations period ends on June 30. Whether you are apprehensive or excited about this annual process, remember that it is designed to ensure you have dedicated time and space to plan and grow professionally. 

Career Conversations is a structured, annual planning process between staff members and their supervisors to review accomplishments, identify strengths, and set goals for the future. The process has five steps that lead employees through completing the form and having one-on-one conversations with their supervisor. It ends when the employee uploads relevant documents to UAccess.

circular graphic listing the career conversation steps

The five-step process for employees includes completing a Career Conversation form, having a one-on-one review with their supervisor and uploading their completed document to UAccess.

Supervisors can work with their direct reports to identify growth and professional development courses that will support employees in learning new skills and reaching their goals for the coming year. While the process is a collaboration between supervisors and employees, their roles differ. Supervisors facilitate the process by ensuring meeting time is available and engaging in the conversation. But it's the employee who directs the content.  

Looking for guidance on creating your professional growth plan? Here are some suggestions. 

List specific training courses in your plan. Full-benefits-eligible employees can access thousands of LinkedIn Learning professional development courses through the EDGE Learning platform. If you haven't already activated your account, visit the About LinkedIn Learning webpage to get started.

  • The EDGE Learning project team curates and categorizes training suggestions based on feedback from the campus community. Find the curated section on the EDGE Learning homepage after logging in.

Think outside the box. Not every growth opportunity needs to be a training course. Consider:

  • Identifying a conference happening in the next six months focused on a new skill set related to your position. For example, a person in a writing position may consider attending a graphic design conference.
  • Partnering with a different unit on a project.
  • Developing a new skill such as public speaking, mediation or emotional intelligence.
  • Building a network. For example, consider joining a professional interest group and commit to attending a certain number of events.
  • Finding a mentoring opportunity. If your unit has student workers, you could volunteer to mentor the student in their position.

Use the SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound) goals framework. Find a SMART goal-setting template, as well as user and reference guides, on the Deconstructed Career Conversations Form webpage.

If you have any questions about the Career Conversations process, please visit the Career Conversations – Employees webpage or ask your direct supervisor.

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