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Questions: A Key to Career Success
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Ian D. (He/Him)
Certified Credit Union Financial Counselor
Posted March 5, 2020
Being mindful and asking thoughtful questions can have an important impact on your career. Questions can be a powerful tool that help you become more confident, give others more reason to trust you, and can result in conversations and impressions that propel your career forward.
You’re interviewing them, too.
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When you are getting ready for a job interview, it’s critical to learn about the company and identify what else you want to know about them. Although it gives potential employers a good impression when you ask thoughtful questions, this is first-and-foremost a time for you to discover whether you actually want to work for a company. You’ll likely want to know more about the company culture, what a successful candidate for the position would look like, and what your day-to-day responsibilities would look like.

Job responsibilities don’t always line up with the job description. Asking questions can help you determine if you would like what your daily experience will look like and if you have the skills to be successful. It doesn’t help you or the employer if you exaggerate your skills and end up struggling on the job.
Demonstrate trustworthiness
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When you ask meaningful questions, it shows that you are willing to ask for help when you don’t know an answer instead of making an executive decision. It can also show that you are willing to receive input and feedback to improve the end result of a project or the level of service you provide. This can help build trust with your peers and your supervisors because they know they can rely on you to come to them when you are uncertain. Some people feel that the best position to be in is to have all of the answers. The trouble with this line of thinking is that answers can often change and situations vary. Demonstrating humility and asking questions can go a lot further than professing to know everything.
Initiate conversations about career development
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It can be frustrating to wonder where you stand in your career development. Not all employers or supervisors are inherently good at helping employees with addressing this information. As a result, sometimes you have to ask questions to better understand your place and to open conversations about your future. Asking questions about how your supervisors feel about your work, what you might need to work on to achieve a raise or a promotion, or asking about opportunities for career advancement and leadership development are all great places to start. This often helps inform your supervisor of your career goals so they can help you pursue them.
Networking gold
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People often think that networking is all about selling yourself through pitching your skills and interests to others. What many people miss is that asking questions and listening intently are as important, if not more so. Think about what you feel when someone approaches you on the street to sell you something. It may make you uncomfortable and you’ll likely try to dismiss or avoid the situation. The same is true with networking. The smoothest way to make connections is to ask others about their passion for their work. Listen carefully and wait to formulate a response until you’ve heard them out. This can help you remember information in the future and gives a much better first impression. It also allows you to relate your own passions, skills, and experience to those of the person you’re talking with.
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