Facebook VP who became a manager at 25 says this is the fastest way to get promoted

Here's a Facebook exec's secret to getting promoted
Here's a Facebook exec's secret to getting promoted

Facebook VP of product design Julie Zhuo knows more than a thing or two about how to stand out at work. 

After graduating from Stanford University, Zhuo became an intern at Facebook and quickly worked her way up, becoming a manager at 25. Her experiences led her to write her new book, "The Making of a Manager: What to Do When Everyone Looks to You," in which she shares professional advice she wishes she'd received earlier in her career.

As a top Silicon Valley executive who now has more than 10 years of experience in tech, Zhuo says she advises anyone looking to get noticed and promoted at work to be very transparent about their goals with their manager.

Facebook's VP of Product Julie Zhuo
Photo credit: Julie Zhuo

"My advice for how to get your manager to notice you is to be really explicit about what your goals are," she tells CNBC Make It. "What do you care about? Where do you see yourself in three years? What are the skills that you want to learn and grow?"

Once you've answered those questions, Zhuo says you should ask your boss for guidance in helping you to find the right opportunities at work that will get you closer to where you want to be.

"Tell your manager, 'Hey, I'd like to get promoted. What do you think it takes for me?'" she says. "What do you think are my gaps? What are the skills that I need to grow, to get better and to be able to take that pay raise or be able to perform at the next level?"

Zhuo says the best way to think about how to get ahead is to look at your career with a long-term perspective, and then determine the little steps you'll need to take to make progress. "Think about where you'd like to be in three years or five years," she says. "Then try boiling it down. So, if you want to get [somewhere] in three years, what does that mean the next year needs to look like, or the next six months?"

"I think this has to be a dialogue with your manager," she emphasizes. "It's something that you talk about together, because maybe you want to do this [thing], but your manager thinks it's going to be more realistic for you to work on these skills first."

Finding the time to discuss your long-term goals at work may be difficult, but Zhuo says developing this relationship with your boss is critical to your success at a company. She says she does frequent check-ins with reports on her team so that she can "deeply understand [their] values, their fears and their hopes."

"It gives me a sense of how I can best support them," she says. "How I can best find opportunities that align with their goals, and how I can have that strong bond and build that trust with them."

Video by Beatriz Bajuelos Castillo

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