You’ve slogged for that management degree and finally got your dream job. 

That was the easy part. Now comes the tough part: planning your career. 

Most people spend about 40 hours a week at work but often don’t think beyond the present. They mostly focus on getting a pay hike or a promotion—in other words, they focus on the short-term.

What they don’t realize is that you need to plan your career every step of the way. You need to think long-term and train your sights on your ultimate goal and how you will get to it.

Career management meaning refers to the process of taking steps to ensure that you keep growing in your career and work towards your goal.

What Is Career Development?

By planning your career, you set a roadmap for yourself. You chart out a career development plan that includes programs suited to your needs, skills, and career goals that help tap opportunities in the organization. The aim of career development is to prepare the person for future opportunities, and that’s why it is a long-term strategy.

For instance, someone might have started his career as a teacher 10 years ago without any knowledge about the internet and online education. But today every teacher needs to be well-versed with the digital world and online classes. Technology-oriented teaching has become an essential skill for the career growth of any teacher since the pandemic forced millions to shift to online learning.

Employee-centric business organizations also focus on empowering their employees with skills that are useful for both their current role and future responsibilities.

For instance, many companies sponsor higher education and specialization courses for high-potential employees seen as future leaders. 

The meaning of career development refers to a continuous formal process that identifies the growth potential of employees with a long-term perspective. Unlike training, career development is long-term and integrates professional skills, education, on-the-job learning as well as interpersonal skills.

Nowadays, career development has become an essential tool for fulfilling the objectives of an organization as well as its employees. In the past, the focus was mostly on the growth of the companies, and employees were considered dispensable resources.

Meaning And Definition Of Career Development

Everybody has aspirations and goals. Taking regular stock of your growth regularly is critical for career development and realizing your goals, both short-term and long-term. 

The process of career development helps you find your true calling. It not only helps you set the right objectives but also leads you to overall growth.

Tips For Career Development

To assess your career goals pragmatically, you need to periodically review your position.

Here are some effective career development tips that will support you in this endeavor:

  1. Document Your Goals And Plans

Setting goals is one thing. But to turn them into reality, you need to jot them down. Have you ever wondered why we don’t manage to keep our New Year Resolutions? One reason is that we don’t take them seriously enough. It is human psychology to not take goals and targets seriously until they are written and documented properly. Writing down goals also works as a reminder and a commitment to the tasks. Whenever we get overwhelmed or lose sight of what we originally started working for, the written document helps us refocus So go ahead and write down your career development strategy.


  1. Systematic Review Process:

Treat your goals and objectives as a major professional project and make sure to map the progress through quarterly, half-yearly and annual reviews. You can set the frequency of reviews according to your choice but make sure to periodically revisit your goals, see what you have achieved, incorporate any changes and revise your goals if necessary. For instance, every business and individual needs to re-evaluate the goals for 2020 because of the pandemic which has disrupted our lives beyond our imagination.


  1. Find A Professional Mentor Or Coach

Taking help from professional coaches or mentors is the ideal way to move forward. You can chalk out your career development plan, but you will always face challenges. Don’t be shy about reaching out for help. Just as you turn to lawyers to clear legal hurdles or chartered accountants for your financial needs, you can get a career development coach. 


  1. Know Your Weaknesses

A lot of people tend to ignore their weaknesses. They refuse to acknowledge them in any self-assessment exercise because they believe admitting their weaknesses can hurt their professional growth. The truth is identifying and accepting your weaknesses helps you work on eliminating them. While our focus should still be on our strengths, accepting and improving on our weaknesses makes us stronger professionals.


  1. Set Timelines

Setting a goal like ‘I have to become the marketing head of my company’, is unlikely to get you there. However, if you set a goal like ‘I have to become the marketing head of my company by December 31, 2025’ then you are more likely to achieve it. Setting an expiry date to a goal gives it a sense of urgency that is needed to prioritize tasks. Fixing a detailed time-bound schedule for your career development will eliminate procrastination as well.


  1. Time Management

People normally have only 40 hours a week to execute their tasks. However, in the absence of time management, they are likely to waste as much as half of that time on meaningless activities. It is important for us to practice the art of time management. Cut down on social media clutter, delegate tasks that don’t need your direct involvement, and follow other time optimization techniques. You will discover that you are getting 60 hours of work done in 40 hours consistently.


  1. Social Activities

Career development efforts shouldn’t be restricted to your office. Join peer groups, online communities, or professional associations to build long-term connections that will help with your career development. Voluntary social activities such as fundraisers, supporting social causes, and being a guest speaker/mentor can boost your networking and career development opportunities.


Career development is an essential process for our professional growth. We shouldn’t see it as an option but as an integral part of our career planning.

Career development is a lifelong enterprise. It is a future-oriented process that forces you to think beyond the present and focus on your long-term goals. Harappa Education’s Leading Self course will help you understand your goals so that you extract the best out of your career development plans. Sign up for this course and begin your career development journey.

Explore our Harappa Diaries section to know more about topics related to the Lead habit such as Resilience, Humility, Self-Esteem, Work Ethic & the Meaning of Mentoring.

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