Career planning and development refers to the process used to set career goals, create a path to those goals, and take the steps needed to achieve them. The career planning process allows you to achieve your full potential, according to your talents. The result is that you’re more happy once you reach your goals because of careful planning.
The importance of career planning and development is crucial to your success. The entire process can be broken down into six basic steps, which we’ll go into further detail later on.
• Discover your career options.
• Do your research.
• Determine a job objective.
• Determine your credentials and create a resume.
• Prepare for your job search.
• Start looking for work.
Career Preparation Definition
The definition of a career is a series of jobs in one’s life. Career planning is the process of planning your career goals, determining your abilities, and considering your opportunities.
Career planning and development are important when it comes to professional growth in a systematic order. Basically, you’re deciding which professional route best suits your personality, interests, and goals. If you already have a job you enjoy, career planning helps you develop short and long-term plans to help you reach your goals for the next five, ten, or more years.
Career planning also allows you to take a closer look at your career path and any alternatives available. It may even help you see a career change that is well-suited to your talents.
Career development is a process that is ongoing throughout your career. After you have set your goals, you can work on career management to help you reach them. Career development allows you to track your career path so you can clearly see your growth, skill development, and sustainability while continuing to learn, plan, and develop your career.
Related Article: Ultimate Guide to Setting SMART Career Objectives (with Examples)
Why is It Important to Start Career Planning Early?
Starting career planning early is important because it gives you more time to explore options, take required steps to enter your chosen field, choose the right college major and school, and make informed decisions. It reduces stress and anxiety compared to planning at the last minute. Research shows early career planning leads to greater career success and satisfaction down the road.
Having said that, the earlier you start, the more likely you are to succeed. While you’re never too old to start career planning, it’s better to begin now rather than wait.
Instead of putting it off, set aside some time to begin mapping out your plan now. Knowing where you want to go, and listing the steps to get there, keeps you from getting sidetracked.
Developing Your Career Plan
Develop Skills and Interests
The first thing you need to do is decide exactly what your goal is. Developing your hobbies, skills, and interests early on can help you discover which careers are best suited to your personality. Think about what makes you feel fulfilled, joyful, and satisfied.
Then, think about how you can turn those attributes into a job. Something that you may not have considered as a career option may pop up from an interest you developed and provide you with happiness.
This is one of the hardest steps in career planning. You need to be honest with yourself while examining your strengths, personality, values, interests, limitations, objectives, and aptitude.
Ask yourself if your current job gives you satisfaction. Career planning and development isn’t just making a map toward goals in your current field. It includes exploring other opportunities as well.
Gaining experience is the next step in career planning. Internships are an excellent way to gain experience and insight into any field. Whether you’re paid or not, the experience is priceless.
You could also consider volunteer work, shadowing, or asking questions of an expert in the field you’ve chosen. This gives you experience that can be included in your resume while fine-tuning your goals. The more experience you gain, the better off you’ll be.
While gaining experience, start saving for your education. Having money will help you get closer to your career goals by allowing you to attend college, obtain certification, go back to school, or continue your education.
Create Your Resume
While you develop skills, continue your education, and get experience, build a resume. Online tools can help you create a readable and professional resume.
Keep making small changes and adding your accomplishments as you go so that you always have an updated resume on hand. Include any details that showcase your experience and talents, and have others proofread it before you submit it.
How Do Career Choices Affect Your Income?
Every career choice you make will affect your income. Your income potential, the expenses of certification, and even where you plan to live impact your financial success. These things need to be taken into consideration as you begin your career planning and development.
When developing a career plan, think about how the following will affect the amount of money you’ll make.
• Job requirements
To be happy and remain motivated, you need a good work-life balance. Your career path needs to work well with your lifestyle and passions.
Ask yourself if you enjoy being indoors or if you’d rather be outdoors. Consider whether or not you want to travel, and think about how much time will be spent away from home.
• Work environment
You’ll find different opportunities for advancement with different careers. Public, private, and non-profit sectors all have unique career advancement opportunities.
In addition to your career goals, think about what your salary goals are. Does the career you considering align with these goals?
Career Planning and Development From the Employer’s Viewpoint
As an employer, supporting career development is important. You can be supportive by providing employees with current information about your organization and the field’s future trends. This helps workers develop realistic career goals.
Place a focus on skill development and learning opportunities that can move their career forward. Providing room for promotion adds to your employees’ satisfaction, and having a greater sense of responsibility when it comes to managing their career adds to their self—confidence.
Career planning and development makes the connection between the organization and the employee’s goals clear. You’ll find that it’s cost-effective to use the talents of your own staff when it comes to career development opportunities.
Best of all, career development increases your employees’ productivity and motivation. This attention to career development attracts quality workers and helps you retain your most valued employees.
You can support your workers’ career planning and development by doing the following:
• Conduct individual career planning and development discussions annually with each employee.
• Hold the supervisors in your department responsible for supporting employee development.
• Create programs that help develop skills. This is done through cross-training, job rotation, internships, mentoring, and coaching.
• Be supportive when workers ask for flexible work arrangements.
• Be a role model by working on your own career development opportunities.
• View employees’ applications for other roles within the company as a sign of a healthy, dynamic workplace.
• Support all lateral moves within the company.
• Post job openings that bring in a diverse pool of applicants, while respecting your employees’ transferable skills.
While supporting your employees’ career planning and career development, you’ll take on many roles. You can be a coach who helps them identify their strengths, weaknesses, values, and interests by providing open communication and continued encouragement.
Be an advisor by providing company information and resources to your workers. Help them make realistic career goals that are based on your company’s needs and their unique development plans.
You’ll also take on the role of an appraiser. Evaluate your employees’ performance openly. Be candid when explaining how this relates to their career opportunities.
Acting as a referral agent is also helpful. Connect employees with the people, contacts, and resources that will help them meet their goals.
A Continually Changing Project
The importance of career planning and development never diminishes. Whether you’re just starting out in the world or you’re a seasoned employer, these are tools that benefit everyone.
A good career plan keeps you on track when it comes to reaching your goals and being able to take advantage of new opportunities. As a manager, you can use the career plans of your employees to your advantage by placing people within the company in roles they’ll enjoy, allowing everyone to benefit.