Skip to main content

Oregon State Flag An official website of the State of Oregon »

Manage Your Career

Have you heard the saying, “a goal without a plan is just a wish?" No matter where you are in your career, you should have a defined goal and a plan for how to get there. Here are some tips on how to manage your career as a public servant.

​A mentor is someone who has an understanding of the state’s formal and informal structure, procedures and culture. They can provide you with insight, guidance and development resources. Having a mentor is a great way to increase your knowledge of the agency, develop skills and expand your professional network.

When picking a mentor, look for someone who is in a position to help you achieve your goals. This will require being clear and direct about what you are seeking and what you want to accomplish. Set regular meeting times and to go into every meeting with a clear focus.​

Two employees sitting together smiling at the camera.​ ​

​Your manager can help you develop a training plan.

We recognize the importance of guiding our employees through their professional growth by providing and supporting development plans that foster individual growth, efficiency and advancement. We provide a variety of training and certification opportunities in engineering, construction, and technical training, as well as programming focused on interpersonal skill-building, leadership development and employee engagement. To register for ODOT training, you must have an account in iLearn, the state’s learning management system.

The Department of Administrative Services (DAS) offers many trainings, as well.

ODOT employees also have the opportunity to receive external training, as long as their manager approves. These opportunities include training seminars, business partnerships, and those at educational institutions.

In some cases, employees may receive full or partial reimbursement for expenses associated with obtaining a degree or taking additional classes. For information on how to qualify and apply for tuition reimbursement, employees may speak to their managers. For expenses related to professional certification and licenses, we follow a cost sharing approach. We encourage the ongoing personal development of our employees through professional certification programs and various licensing programs.

Employee sitting in front of a computer looking at the computer screen

​​Job rotations are available to our permanent employees pending manager approval. A job rotation is a work change where an employee takes on a new role for a set amount of time. Job rotations are often arranged to broaden the employee's skill set.

Rotations are a great career growth opportunity and benefit both the employee and our agency. They can occur at ODOT, at another state agency, or even at a federal, local or private entity.

Using the statewide classification tool can be a great way to explore different positions you may be interested in rotating through. If there is a team or classification that interests you, ask your manager about the possibility of a rotation. This is a great way to figure out if a position would be a good fit for you.

Some rotational opportunities are advertised on or through internal emails.

Employee sitting at a desk and smiling at the camera

​ODOT offers job shadowing opportunities to individuals who are interested in learning about a specific position within ODOT. Job shadowing is an experience where people learn about a position by spending time observing an ODOT professional. A job shadow at ODOT is a way to see what a day in the life of an employee is like.​

Job shadowing can also be a career exploration activity for students or people considering a career change​.​ They provide a chance to explore different careers and grow your professional network.

​​Informational interviews provide an opportunity for you to talk to someone with extensive knowledge about a particular topic or field and gain valuable information that you can use in your career development.

Before requesting an informational interview, it is important to be prepared. To respect the manager’s time, you should determine what information you want to learn and have a list of questions you want to ask.

There are several resources you can use to arrange an informational interview. First, you can look within your own network, ask your manager, or ask your team members to refer people that would be helpful for you to speak with. Second, if you know a specific classification or position that you would like more information about, you can research people who currently hold that position in the ODOT employee directory (WIN). Third, you can email for assistance.

It is up to a manager whether they grant an informational interview. Managers have a lot on their plates, so flexibility and understanding if managers have to decline is important.

Employee sitting at a desk smiling at the camera  


​Some people thrive on a technical track, some find themselves considering switching to a management track, and others move back and forth between the two. How can you decide which pathway to take, or when it is time to make the switch?

Some things to consider when assessing your suitability for management:

  • Do you have good interpersonal skills, like emotional intelligence?
  • Do you have a strong drive to serve others?
  • Have you studied leadership?
  • How effective are you as a verbal and written communicator?
  • Are you good at leading discussions?
  • Are you good at motivating a team?
  • Are you invested in helping others succeed?
  • Are you good at seeing the big picture?
  • Do you have a strong understanding of the agency’s goals and objectives?
  • Are you able to understand, prioritize and address a variety of needs?
  • Are you willing to continually give and take feedback?

If you haven’t managed people before, you may need to apply for a rotational opportunity and take additional training to obtain the necessary experience.

Some things to consider when deciding if the technical track is right for you:

  • Would you prefer to be working alone solving interesting technical problems to being in a meetings, conducting interviews or providing feedback?
  • Do you enjoy learning about and digging deep into technical details?
  • Do you enjoy solving tough technical problems?

Of course, many benefits that are present in the management track are present in the technical track. For example, you can be a technical expert and be a wonderful motivator for your teammates. It is really a question of finding which track energizes you more.

Two employees sitting and laughing together. One of them is holding a cup.  

Find opportunities to gain skills that will help you get where you want to be. For example, if you would like to be a manager, seek out opportunities to perform lead work. Additionally, you may volunteer to give presentations to expand your public speaking experience.​

Identify your transferrable skills. These can include technical skills, communication skills, critical thinking skills, time management and organizational skills, teamwork skills, creativity skills and leadership skills. Once you have identified a list, do your research to find interesting careers that align with your skill set.

Grow your professional network. You can do this through platforms like LinkedIn, at career fairs, or by joining professional organizations such as the American Public Works Association, the American Society of Civil Engineers, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials or young professionals organizations like this.

Employee giving a presentation and standing with a projection screen in the background  

Learn About the Agency

Because we are a large agency, it is sometimes challenging to understand the breadth of what happens at ODOT. Some tips for learning more are: 

Explore ODOT Careers
Get to know our Explore ODOT website. 

Email Ask ODOT
Email Ask ODOT for Employees
Direct specific questions to the folks at Ask ODOT or Ask ODOT for Employees who can help you find information, services or resolve issues. 

Get Involved with ODOT
Review information on public meetings, request public records, read news releases and learn about projects in your area. 

Sign Up for Email Updates 
You can choose from 100 specialized email alerts, including news releases, news about local area commissions on transportation and job alerts.