Career Development

Learn from Experiences

Know your strengths and opportunity areas for growth. That's where knowing how to develop your career starts. Schedule a quarterly checkpoint meeting with your manager to get feedback and ideas for growth. Leverage your Professional Development Plan in your next Performance Review to address any opportunity areas. Be sure to invest time in writing a Self Assessment before your next Performance Review – it will help you think critically about what you have already accomplished and will encourage you to be critical about what skills you need to develop.

Showcase your initiative. Taking part in new projects or activities will advance your career by strengthening your competencies, broadening your GW network, and by learning from others. To do this, ask your boss to be a part of an upcoming initiative or event.

Set yourself apart from others. Identify a problem that needs to be addressed and develop a proposed solution that could be implemented. If you will lead the implementation, use effective project management skills to highlight your strength in managing details, deadlines, and your ability to get things done through others.

Help your manager be successful by managing up. Go above and beyond the tasks assigned to you and distinguish yourself from others. Anticipate the needs of your role, your department and/or your manager, and be proactive by offering specific ways in which you can help.

Craft an elevator pitch. In 60 seconds or less, explain your capabilities, experience, and strengths.

Learn from Others

Use the “Tips for Moving Up in an Organization” tool (PDF). Pick at least two areas and create a personal action plan. Discuss your plan with a manager, mentor, or trusted colleague. Ask for feedback on your plan.

Schedule regular meetings with your supervisor. Both one-on-one meetings and formal Performance Checkpoints will allow you to talk about your career aspirations. Use this list of conversation starters aimed at your career development.

"Task trade" with a teammate. Gain new skills and expand your knowledge of your team’s work. Set up a time to discuss current projects with a peer, then ask them to mentor you and guide you through one of the tasks needed to complete their project – and offer to do the same for them. Not only will you improve your skills, you will gain a new appreciation for your teammate’s work and help expand his/her skills, as well.

Seek a mentor who can help your career development. Read our guidance to help you find the right mentor, and for tips on making the relationship meaningful.


Don’t aspire to have your boss’ job. Instead, build your network and seek lateral opportunities in different areas that will expose you to a diversity of thinking, experiences, projects, and people.