According to Benjamin Franklin, without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.
This is to emphasize the continuous process through which an individual must subject themselves to development to attach value to themselves in different areas, including their career.
What is Career Development?
Career development is the process an individual undergoes to evolve their occupational status. It’s about setting goals for your career that you intend to achieve to position yourself better in your organization, workplace or field.
Achieving each level/goal requires work in the four elements of professional development which are:
- experience, and
Who needs Career Development?
Although career development is more vital to employees than employers, but everyone (both the employer and employee) needs to take career development seriously.
Career development is the responsibility of both the employee and the employer: it must be a collaborative effort because it cannot be done unilaterally. The employee is responsible, ultimately, for career management and development—and reading The Start-up of You is an excellent guide here.
The employer’s perspective is necessary in order for individuals to achieve alignment between who they are (their identity), what they want (their goals), and what the organization needs from them. The employer must provide an environment for employees to thrive while the employee must strive for career development as it will provide a roadmap to their future and also to make well-informed decisions, and increase productivity.
Stages of Career Development
There are 6 stages of career development according to the U.S Chamber of Commerce
Stage 1. Assessment
This is the first stage of career development. At this stage, you should focus on self-awareness and getting feedback from other people about your strengths and weaknesses. Taking self-assessment tests or working with a career coach can help you move through this phase with more ease.
Stage 2. Investigation
At this stage, you start to become more aware of all the options available to you. If you’re feeling confused or overwhelmed, then you’re probably doing it right and it’s important that at this stage you begin networking with professionals in your field and programmes like fellowships will provide you with the resources you need to grow.
Stage 3. Preparation
This stage is one of the most exciting because you’ve finally gained some clarity and are beginning to make forward momentum. Many people at this stage realize that they still aren’t working in their ideal position, but that’s normal. This stage is about building the experience you need to move to the next point in your career.
Stage 4. Commitment
This stage requires more focus, or you become distracted from achieving your goals. At this stage, you’re focused on finding new opportunities and taking on additional responsibilities at work.
Stage 5. Retention
Most individuals feel relaxed at this stage because they’ve gotten more experience, are respected at the workplace or organization as a professional, and are more resourceful than ever to everyone around them. It’s more important to work more on yourself at this stage because adding value to yourself can’t be too much. Focus on achieving more career milestones.
Stage 6. Transition
At this stage, you have become an expert and probably realize that you’ve gone as far as you should in your position, and it’s now time for you to move to a new phase. This stage is mostly uncomfortable, but you would have already built the character and self-resilience you need to take on future milestones.
Reasons why Career Development is important
Here are 5 reasons why career development is important