How to prepare for a conversation with your manager – and make a great Rising Star Award application

Thinking of applying for a Rising Star Award this year? Now is the time to start having conversations with your line manager, mentor, or a trusted senior person within your organisation.

“The conversation before the application is crucial,” says Susan Graham, Managing Director at FLB Group and 2022 and 2023 judge. “Your company needs to understand that the award is for developing and retaining an individual in the industry, to understand the aspirations of their employees.”

Before booking a meeting, follow these five steps to make the most of the time with your manager.

1. Self-reflection:

Begin by reflecting on your strengths, skills, and passions. Consider where you currently stand in your career and where you see yourself in the future. Identify the areas you excel in and those you wish to develop. Looking at this step closely will lay the foundation for a more meaningful and focused discussion.

2. Set clear goals:

Establishing clear and achievable goals is essential for career planning. Define both short-term and long-term objectives, making sure they align with your overall career vision. Specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals provide a structured framework for this, making it easier to communicate what you intend to achieve.

“Outstanding applicants are self-aware, clearly know where they want to be, and have the confidence and drive to get there,” says Susan.

3. Research your industry:

“As an applicant, prove that you know the next step in your career journey and where the gaps are. Your application should clearly demonstrate how the training you will fund through your award will bridge some or all of that development gap,” says Susan.

Stay informed about industry trends, technological advances, and the skills in demand. This knowledge will not only enhance your understanding of your field but will also help you to consider how you can bridge the gaps between your development and the industry’s needs.

4. Seek mentorship:

Engage with mentors or experienced professionals in your field. Their insights and advice can provide valuable perspectives on career progression.

Identify people who’ve achieved success in your field of interest. Networking in person, attending industry events, workshops and conferences, as well as online through professional platforms like LinkedIn, can be effective routes to meet potential mentors. Utilise existing connections such as friends or colleagues who may have valuable recommendations for a mentor but be open to diverse perspectives.

5. Communicate effectively:

When discussing your career aspirations, articulate your goals with clarity, confidence, and passion. This is something Victoria Blackwell, Senior Marketing Executive at Nutshell and 2023 Judge has found. “Those who stood out were the people who shone with a genuine passion for their role and the industry.”

Clearly express how your ambitions align with your current role and will contribute to your success overall.

Approaching discussions with intention and planning is key to successfully navigating your professional journey. Taking these proactive steps will not only position you as an emerging Rising Star but also contribute to the overall success of your career.

You can join the Rising Stars constellation and shine in your career.

2024 Rising Star Award applications are now closed.

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