What is Career Development?
Career development is an ongoing process, one that you should be focused on as you approach a career and progress through it.
Career development helps you take stock of who you are and where you want to go in life. In order to achieve growth, continue learning, and achieve momentum in your career you must assess your situation and your goals frequently, otherwise you doom yourself to the fate of a robot working a daily routine. Here are a few career development questions you can ask yourself:
- Where do I want to be in my career at the end of this year? What job would I like to retire from? It’s O.K. to think about next month or even 30 years from now. You can’t achieve career development without having a goal.
- Do I like the field I’m working in? Career development doesn’t mean you have to develop the career you currently in, but can also mean changing careers, even changing environments. Perhaps you’ve always wanted to work in the big city. You can start thinking now about finding jobs in New York or jobs in Philadelphia. Remember, it is your career, your life, your choices. Answer your questions honestly (there are no rights or wrongs!) and reconsider the questions from time-to-time as your desires may change.
- What would I like to learn more about? If you have strong interests in a particular area, you also probably have strengths and talents in that area. Your desire to learn more about a certain subject or field will propel you faster in your career. Find your niche!
Career Planning and Development – What is Career Planning?
Once you’ve answered these and other important questions about your career, it is time to come up with solutions.
For instance, if your ultimate goal is to become a Chief Financial Officer in a large corporation, you’ll need to map out the way to get there.
What will you need to do to qualify for such a position?
- What kind of education and certifications are typically required?
- What do the backgrounds of those who have achieved this position look like?
- Which organizations are important to belong to? How can you network with other financial professionals?
- What steps will you need to take to move in this direction and what goals will you need to set to reach this goal by a certain time?
Your goals and solutions need to be very specific. This isn’t to say that you can’t revisit your planning and development and make adjustments (after all, life isn’t 100% predictable and we are not, in fact, robots) but writing out your career plan will make your goals more attainable because they become concrete and will remind you of the steps necessary to achieve what you desire.
What is Career Management?
Development and planning are all part of career management. Make no mistake, you are in charge of your career and personal development.
Employers will not make sure you are keeping up with current trends, skill development, and other things necessary to ensure you are an employable candidate. They will do so only as far as it suits their own needs. If your personal career goals do not align with your employer’s career opportunities, you must take control by assessing, developing, planning, and maintaining an upward track.
Many things both internally at your place of employment and externally (who you meet, courses you take, decisions you make) will affect your career.
You can still meet your goals if you manage your career by constantly coming back to your development plans, looking at your goals, and re-answering your questions. You may need to come up with new solutions as you take unexpected turns in your path, but you’ll still be moving onwards and upwards if you follow a career plan.
Lynn Mattoon is a Content Editor & Career Writer for Manhattanjobs.com, Phillyjobs.com, and Financialjobbank.com, Beyond.com career communities.