ou’ve just been promoted or you see an opportunity to grow in your organization. But now what? How do you take your career to the next level? With career development, of course. Career development encompasses a variety of activities that help employees grow and reach their potential. It is about defining and executing a plan for reaching your career goals. There are five main areas of career development: Learning and education, Coaching and mentoring, Networking and connecting, Working on projects outside your normal scope, and Taking advantage of employee assistance programs like resource centers or company-sponsored workshops. These five areas will help you explore opportunities for personal growth that match your interests and enable you to develop the skills needed for new responsibilities within your organization.
What is Career Development?
Broadly speaking, career development is the process of discovering your strengths and passions as well as leveraging these factors for professional growth. It’s an ongoing, cyclical process of self-assessment and experiential learning designed to facilitate career progression, job satisfaction, and personal fulfillment.
More specifically, career development encompasses three key areas: Self-awareness, career development strategy, and career management. Self-awareness involves gaining a deep understanding of your personality, skill set, and experience to discover your strengths and weaknesses as well as uncover your passions and motivations. Career development strategy refers to the specific steps you take to improve your employability. Career management refers to the steps you take to maximize impact and initiative within your organization.
Why Is Career Development Important?
The current state of the workplace has made it abundantly clear: There is no such thing as a job for life. In a world where automation and artificial intelligence are enabling workers to automate processes once thought impossible, a career path is anything but a straight line. Even in industries thought to be immune to technological disruption, like law and medicine, companies are exploring ways to automate processes to save time and money. This trend isn’t slowing down any time soon, either. Experts say it will only pick up steam with the advent of new technologies. In short, you never truly know what the future holds. This reality makes it vital for you to proactively manage your career trajectory and adaptability to ensure you stay relevant and employed for as long as possible.
Networking is a key skill for career development. It involves building relationships with people in your industry who can help you learn about job openings, connect you to potential employers, and provide feedback on your skills and qualifications.
Networking can take many forms. You can meet people at conferences and events, in coffee shops or other local venues, or online via social media platforms like LinkedIn. It’s important to be friendly and approachable so that people feel comfortable connecting with you. Be sure to build a positive rapport by asking open-ended questions that show you’re interested in learning more about them and their working lives. You can also offer to connect them with someone who can help their career move forward, such as an employer looking for talent or a recruiter who might be able to refer them to a position they’re interested in.
Networking also involves being prepared to make cold calls when necessary, which means having the right information and skills at hand to help yourself stand out from other candidates. This could include your résumé and cover letter, as well as contact information for relevant people at companies that you want to reach out to.
As with all professions, professional training is an important aspect of your career development. Whether you are a novice looking to break into the field or an experienced professional looking for new challenges, training can be an invaluable asset. And while there are a number of different options available, most fall into one of two broad categories: on-the-job training and formal education.
A key difference between on-the-job training and formal education is that on-the-job training occurs during the course of your career, whereas formal education typically takes place after you’ve already entered the workforce. Thus, it’s important to choose both wisely so you can make the most of your training experience.
On-the-job training is generally considered more effective because it enables you to learn what it’s like to work in the field under real-world conditions. You typically have more control over this type of training than formal education, which allows you to tailor it to your specific needs and interests. In addition, on-the-job training can help you develop valuable transferrable skills that can enhance your career prospects in other settings.
Formal education, on the other hand, tends to be more rigorous and focused on theory rather than practice. It also usually requires long hours and commitment from both you and your supervisor. While this type of training may provide a deeper well of
Mentorship and Coaching
Mentorship and coaching can have a significant impact on career development. Mentors can provide guidance, support, and advice on a range of issues, from career planning to network and job search strategies. They may also offer valuable feedback on your skills and abilities, which you can use to improve your candidacy for future roles. In return, mentees can benefit from a close connection with an influential figure, who can offer guidance and advice about their work life in return.
It is important to find the right mentor – someone with experience and knowledge of the industry, who has been through similar experiences, and who is willing to spend time with you one-on-one in order to provide guidance and advice. However, it is also important to be selective about this relationship. A good mentor will be supportive and encouraging, but not too overbearing or controlling. And you should be comfortable having candid conversations about your career goals, job searches, and potential challenges ahead.
Job Search and Skills Development
Career development doesn’t always mean a promotion or finding a new job. Sometimes you may want to stay put but gain new skills to expand your role and grow within your organization. In these cases, you may want to explore skills development. Skills development involves acquiring new skills and abilities that expand your capacity to do your job. It may be as simple as acquiring new software that allows you to do your job more efficiently or going to a conference to learn new skills in your field. Skills development is relevant at any point in your career, whether you are just starting out or looking to pivot.
Promotion awareness is an area of career development that focuses on the awareness and understanding of one’s current position and company within the context of a broader environment, as well as an understanding of one’s personal strengths and weaknesses. Promotion awareness can be broken down into two areas: 1) promotion orientation; and 2) promotion knowledge. Promotion orientation refers to an employee’s understanding of their individual role in the organization. For example, does the employee have a clear understanding of their role in relation to others (e.g., leadership or management), team members, and customers? Promotion knowledge refers to an employee’s knowledge of their own skills, competencies, and performance. Promote awareness can be developed through a combination of personal development activities, such as self-assessment, feedback from managers or peers, mentoring relationships, and learning from other employees in similar roles.
In addition to promoting advancement opportunities within the organization, promotion awareness can also help to foster a greater sense of belonging within the organization by helping employees to better understand how they fit into the organization and how they can help contribute to its success.
Types of Career Development Programs
- Promotion Pathways: A promotion pathway program allows employees to explore the various roles and skill sets required for advancement in the company. It outlines a clear path to promotion and provides mentorship and coaching from senior leaders to help employees navigate their way to the top.
- Training and Development: Training and development programs provide employees with the skills and knowledge they need to perform their current roles more effectively. They can take a variety of forms, including online courses, in-person seminars, workshops, and skill-building exercises.
- Internal Transfers: By participating in an internal transfer program, employees can request to move from their current department to one that interests them. By doing so, they get to explore new aspects of their organization and gain new skills.
- Employee Referral Program: An employee referral program rewards employees for recommending their peers for open positions within the company. It’s a great way to find high-quality talent while also getting a foot in the door at your company.
- Career Change Assistance: A career change assistance program provides employees with the tools to pivot their careers and pursue something that interests them more. It can include online and offline resources like workshops, books, and mentorship.
How To Invest In Your Career Development
Create A Career Vision
The first step in investing in your career development is to create a career vision. Your career vision is a picture of your ideal career path: the type of work you’re doing, the industry you work in, and the type of company you work for. When creating your career vision, it’s important to be as specific as possible. What type of work do you want to do? What type of company do you want to work for? What type of industry do you want to be a part of? Once you’ve created your career vision, it’s time to break it down into actionable steps. It’s not enough to have a dream; you must have a plan for making it happen.
Identify Your Strengths
Once you’ve created a career vision, it’s time to explore your strengths. What are your natural talents and abilities? What have you excelled at in every job you’ve ever had? When it comes to strengths, there are two approaches you can take:
- Internal strengths: Internal strengths are what you’ve been gifted with by nature. They are often innate skills that you’ve had since childhood.
- External strengths: External strengths are skills you’ve learned over time. They are acquired abilities and have become a part of your daily life.
Leverage Your Strengths
Once you’ve identified your strengths, it’s time to figure out how to leverage them to further your career. Start by asking yourself the following questions:
- How can I use my strengths to solve problems at work?
- What are my strengths and how can I use them to help my colleagues?
- What are my strengths and how can I use them to benefit my organization?
- How can I use my strengths to further my career?
Pursue New Experiences
At some point, you’ll need to pivot your career. When this happens, you’ll want to be fully prepared to meet the challenges that come with it. To do so, you must pursue new experiences that will help you expand your skill set and build your resume.
There are many different ways to do this, including:
- Networking: Networking is the most effective way to expand your network and get the experience you need.
- Taking classes: Taking classes at a local college or university is a great way to expand your skill set.
- Working with non-profits: Working with non-profits is a great way to build your resume while helping others.
Hone Your Professional Skills
Once you’ve pursued new experiences, it’s time to hone your professional skills. By mastering the skills necessary for your industry, you’ll not only improve your chances of getting hired but will also increase your earning potential.
There are a number of ways to hone your professional skills, including:
- Join a professional organization: By joining a professional organization, you can meet like-minded individuals and gain valuable insight into your field.
- Read industry publications: Reading industry publications is a great way to keep up to date on the latest trends in your field.
- Join online communities: Joining online communities is a great way to connect with like-minded individuals and get answers to your burning questions.
Final Thoughts on What are the 5 areas of career development?
There’s more to succeeding in your career than simply having the right skills. To truly excel in the modern workplace, you need to develop a broad range of skills that include everything from leadership to creativity. And the best way to do this is by focusing on five key areas of career development: leadership, organization, creativity, conflict resolution, and time management. By keeping these areas in mind, you can start on the path to success.
Do you want to learn more about What are the 5 areas of career development? Check out these Best Books on Career Change.
Meet Maurice, a staff editor at Bigger Investing. He’s an accomplished entrepreneur who owns multiple successful websites and a thriving merch shop. When he’s not busy with work, Maurice indulges in his passion for kayaking, climbing, and his family. As a savvy investor, Maurice loves putting his money to work and seeking out new opportunities. With his expertise and passion for finance, he’s dedicated to helping readers achieve their financial goals through Bigger Investing.