What is Career Development?
Many people think career development is moving up through the levels of the managerial hierarchy, mainly through promotions. However, this only forms a small part of career development. Career development is an ongoing process of self-improvement that involves setting personal and professional goals and gaining the skills to achieve these goals.
Why is Career Development Important?
On average adults spend a third of their day at work, that’s 90,000 hours over a lifetime. If you are not challenged in your job, your work can become boring and affect your job satisfaction.
Start With Self-Reflection
In order to grow and improve it is essential that you understand yourself. Take time to self-reflect on your current strengths and weaknesses, what skills you want to improve upon and where you see yourself in the future. Consider the reasons behind your actions by asking questions such as "Do I act more with my head or my heart?" "Do I like to follow order or try new ways of doing things?" It may be helpful to complete this free personality test to gather more information on who you are: https://www.16personalities.com/free-personality-test.
Setting a goal such as “I aim to be promoted by the end of the year” may be a goal you have but it does not indicate how you will make a promotion happen. Small, regular goals which follow the SMART objectives are more beneficial. These are goals which are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and have a set time period. An example is “Each month this year I am going to take on one new managerial role and develop the skills needed to become competent in that role.” SMART goals provide a clear pathway to achieving your long-term goal and improve confidence as each goal is reached.
Tips for Career Development
Make use of any internal training programs your company offers and if your company doesn’t offer any search online for relevant courses.
Enhance Industry Knowledge
Stay up to date with changes in your industry by subscribing to industry newsletters and listening to podcasts.
Expand your business contacts by connecting with other professionals in your field to share ideas, improve communication skills and access more job opportunities.
Venture Outside Your Comfort Zone
Get involved in a business activity which scares you such as offering to present in public, attending a work event or reaching out to other professionals in your field.
Share Your Career Goals
Although you should oversee your own career development, sharing your goals and aspirations with managers may result in receiving greater responsibility in your role.
Update CV and LinkedIn
Ensure your CV and LinkedIn profile reflects any new skills, experiences or qualifications you have acquired which might set you apart from other candidates.
Reading not only deepens your knowledge but also keeps your brain engaged and improves creativity.
Invest in Mental and Physical Health
Career development involves becoming a better version of yourself therefore, your physical and mental health plays an important role. Ensure you are getting sufficient sleep each night, maintain a healthy diet, exercise regularly and use relaxation techniques such as yoga or meditation.