Go in with your past accomplishments, take notes, ask detailed questions about how your performance is evaluated, and remind your supervisor of the promissory notes when they hired you, i.e. what you would be bringing to the table.
It’s important to be open and up front with your supervisor(s). Poor communication is often the root issue with the problems I’ve seen arise in both my professional experiences. Regular updates with your supervisor can help prevent miscommunications. You may have an annual or semi-annual “formal” 1:1 meeting to discuss progress and future goals. It is worthwhile to spend some time preparing for these meetings by honestly assessing your past performance in terms of what recent work you’re proud of and what you feel you could have done better. Walking into a 1:1 with the supervisor can be intimidating but coming in ready with some honest talking points about your job performance may help ease the anxiety. Your honesty and openness should help convince your supervisor that your self-identified “areas for improvement” will likely be your “highlights” during the next 1:1. Nobody is perfect, and I wouldn’t want to work with someone who thought they were.
A 1:1 meeting is a great way to get feedback and direction from your manager. Prepare ahead of time, and ensure you create a list of questions to go over with them. This is a great opportunity to get feedback on your work; where you are doing well, and where you may need additional improvement. Try to not get defensive when given constructive criticism. Feedback is a gift – if you welcome it, it will help you grow. Ask about other things you can do to develop yourself, inside and outside of work. Ask to be involved with additional cross-functional or cross-departmental projects if those are available. Don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone and ask for more responsibility. If you are looking to “move to the next level” in your position, ask what steps you should take to get there. Always remember that your relationship with your supervisor is a partnership. If you are fortunate enough to have this 1:1 time with them, make it count!
Build a friendship. Ask about non work things and wait for him/her to talk about work. Anticipate what they will want to discuss and be ready to reply with short, clear, complete answers. Remember - you are both there because you are honest and want to feed your families.
This article has been edited for length and clarity. The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the view of their employer or the American Chemical Society.
ACS Career Consultants are experts and leaders working in the field of chemistry who have volunteered to support other ACS members’ career development through one-on-one career counselling. They can stimulate your thinking, ask important career planning questions to help clarify goals, provide encouragement, teach strategies for making meaningful career decisions, and aid you in your job search. Connect with an ACS Career Consultant today!
Copyright 2019 American Chemical Society (All Rights Reserved)