Ultimate Guide To Successful Career Development7 mins - Introduction
According to some experts, Human Resource Management (HRM) comprises numerous components: organizational design, planning your human resources, evaluation & control and, the highlight of our article, career development. Effective management of all of these components contributes to the achievement of a firm’s overall objectives and goals.
One of these components that are dealt with by both the employee and the employer is Career Development.
What exactly is Career Development?
Generally, and putting it out rather simply, career development can be easily defined as a process that continues throughout an individual’s lifetime, molding and shaping up their work identity. The exact starting point of this lifelong, evolutionary process cannot be clearly defined or pointed out for an individual as it begins as soon as they become aware of and acknowledge the different ways of earning a living. This awareness is usually followed by explorations carried out in different fields until the individual has made their final decision about the career they want to pursue.
It still doesn’t end here. After choosing a profession, you’ve got to work towards it; acquire the necessary qualifications, receive appropriate training, find employment and finally, advance in your chosen career. For the already employed and working population, career development also includes switching jobs or changing careers during their lifetime. To make career decisions easier and broaden their perspective, people may opt for hiring external career development services or even go for self-career development independently.
Looking at the subject more technically and in-depth brings us towards how organizations and individuals share the responsibility of career development; the process is viewed slightly differently by the employee and the employer.
An individual (employee) attaches significance to their career’s development because it serves them as a handy tool or even as a head-start during their journey towards achieving their personal goals-pay raises, job satisfaction, bonuses, etcetera. On the other hand, form an organization’s (employer) viewpoint, assisting their employees in managing their careers effectively ultimately works in the firm’s favor. Career development allows firms to match the best people to the best job available, results in productive human resource management and hence, aids firms in achieving their objectives efficiently.
Influencing Factors for Career Development
There exist several factors that may affect career development and may act as barriers as well. Below, we will be discussing some major and basic ones.
The Individual’s Personal Characteristics
Every person out there is an ‘individual’, meaning that there are certain differences between every person’s personal traits, aptitude, work-related preferences, interests, etcetera.
Personal characteristics play an important part in career development as they will essentially affect our idea of an ‘ideal’ job and working environment. For example, people who are more socially active and interactive tend to work better in environments that require extensive communication, such as marketing fields, in comparison to people who are shy and socially awkward.
Physical and Mental Capabilities
Physical and intellectual restrictions may impact a person’s career choices and development. Your passion and career preference may just simply not match your intellectual as well as physical competencies. For example, you may wish to be a doctor but may just not meet a medical school’s intellectual criterion. Moreover, there is, in some occupations, a criteria set regarding physical abilities in a job specification. For example, a specific minimum height set for pilots.
In case a person doesn’t meet these requirements, this factor may act as a barrier for them, restricting advancement in that career and coax them into exploring other career paths more suitable and in-line with their strengths.
This is rising concern for a large number of students out there who are looking to attain a college degree in order to work in an industry which requires them to be qualified to that level. Pursuing such career options and paths can prove to be costly as college tuition is not affordable by all. Restricted financial resources may end up with you switching your career path to settle for one that you aren’t completely satisfied with.
It is worth mentioning here that modern ways have been introduced to help students counter financially restrictive barriers and aid their career development; financial aid, merit scholarships, student loans, subsidies, etcetera.
This is a factor that affects career development for thousands of working men and women out there as they have certain financial obligations to meet with their monthly/weekly paycheck. You may be unsatisfied with the career path you have chosen and may wish to explore other options until you have found ‘the’ career for yourself.
However, this is where the burden and pressure of meeting unavoidable financial obligations timely-bills, rent payments, mortgages, tuition, etcetera-heavily affects and restricts career development for that individual.
Notable 5 Stages of Career Development
These five career stages have been allocated to a specific age range in Super’s ‘Career Development Theory’ but that does not mean that a person cannot (re)experience any of the stages under another age bracket. This simply implies that the biological ages of individuals are not necessarily bound to achieve correspondence with the development stage.
GROWTH (0-14 years old)
During this stage, the development of self-concept comes into play and results in the child experiencing growth by recognizing their personal characteristics, gaining a general view of the working world and relating to it according to their preferences, facing limitations and acknowledging & accepting their flaws.
EXPLORATION (15-24 years old)
As this stage proceeds, the individual takes their initial steps towards career development by identifying their areas of interest and gaining skills in that area in college or through other means. Eagerly exploring options and opportunities will be paramount here, with lucky individuals even going forward with an offer that is too good to refuse.
ESTABLISHMENT (25-44 years old)
This is a crucial stage during which the individual will be more focused and serious about their career development and skill-set. They will look for opportunities that will help them in refining their skills and achieving their personal objectives. Securing their career’s present and future will be paramount here in the concerned individual’s career development.
MAINTENACE (45-64 years old)
The goal during this stage will primarily be to stick to the current position while making necessary, mild amendments. However, people may enter a mid-life crisis situation and start questioning their past career choices and the options they let go-they just start being more anxious about the progress and development of their career. A decision regarding securing the current spot or changing the career path will have to be made in such situations.
Hence, the individual may be in need of career development services or may just resort to his own experience and expertise to make use of self-career development methods.
DECLINE (64+ years old)
When an individual enters this stage, they are mostly preparing themselves for retirement. Not much effort is invested in self-career development as their working years are nearing the inevitable end. The entire focus will now be on leaving work after tending to necessary tasks.