Career management

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Career management is the combination of structured planning and the active management choice of one's own professional career. Career management was first defined in a social work doctoral thesis by Mary Valentich as the implementation of a career strategy through application of career tactics in relation to chosen career orientation (Valentich & Gripton, 1978). Career orientation referred to the overall design or pattern of one's career, shaped by particular goals and interests and identifiable by particular positions that embody these goals and interests. Career strategy pertains to the individual's general approach to the realization of career goals, and to the specificity of the goals themselves. Two general strategy approaches are adaptive and planned. Career tactics are actions to maintain oneself in a satisfactory employment situation. Tactics may be more or less assertive, with assertiveness in the work situation referring to actions taken to advance one's career interests or to exercise one's legitimate rights while respecting the rights of others.

Valentich and Gripton defined success as managing one's career effectively through the attainment of desired positions and other rewards. The outcome of successful career management should include personal fulfillment, work–life balance, goal achievement and financial security.

A career includes all types of employment ranging from semi-skilled through skilled, and semi professional to professional. Careers have often been restricted to an employment commitment to a single trade skill, profession or business firm for the entire working life of a person. In recent years, however, a career now includes changes or modifications in employment during the foreseeable future.

The following classification system with minor variations is widely used:

  1. Development of overall goals and objectives,
  2. Development of a strategy (a general means to accomplish the selected goals/objectives),
  3. Development of the specific means (policies, rules, procedures and activities) to implement the strategy, and
  4. Systematic evaluation of the progress toward the achievement of the selected goals/objectives to modify the strategy, if necessary.

Goals or objectives development[edit]

The career management process begins with setting goals/objectives. A relatively specific goal/objective must be formulated. This task may be quite difficult when the individual lacks knowledge of career opportunities and/or is not fully aware of their talents and abilities. However, the entire career management process is based on the establishment of defined goals/objectives whether specific or general in nature. Utilizing career assessments may be a critical step in identifying opportunities and career paths that most resonate with someone. Career assessments can range from quick and informal to more indepth. Regardless of the ones you use, you will need to evaluate them. Most assessments found today for free (although good) do not offer an in-depth evaluation.

The time horizon for the achievement of the selected goals or objectives - short term, medium term or long term - will have a major influence on their formulation.

  1. Short-term goals (one or two years) are usually specific and limited in scope. Short-term goals are easier to formulate. Make sure they are achievable and relate to your longer term career goals.
  2. Intermediate goals (3 to 20 years) tend to be less specific and more open ended than short-term goals. Both intermediate and long-term goals are more difficult to formulate than short-term goals because there are so many unknowns about the future.
  3. Long-term goals (Over 20 years), of course, are the most fluid of all. Lack of life experience and knowledge about potential opportunities and pitfalls make the formulation of long-term goals/objectives very difficult. Long-range goals/objectives, however, may be easily modified as additional information is received without a great loss of career efforts because of experience/knowledge transfer from one career to another.
  4. Making career choices and decisions – the traditional focus of careers interventions. The changed nature of work means that individuals may now have to revisit this process more frequently now and in the future, more than in the past.
  5. Managing the organizational career – concerns the career management tasks of individuals within the workplace, such as decision-making, life-stage transitions, dealing with stress etc.
  6. Managing 'boundaryless' careers – refers to skills needed by workers whose employment is beyond the boundaries of a single organization, a workstyle common among, for example, artists and designers.
  7. Taking control of one's personal development – as employers take less responsibility, employees need to take control of their own development in order to maintain and enhance their employability.

Other elements include:

Career planning[edit]

Career planning is a subset of career management. Career planning applies the concepts of Strategic planning and Marketing to taking charge of one's professional future. Career is an ongoing process and so it needs to be assessed on continuous basis. This process of re-assessing individual learning and development over a period of time is called Career Planning. According to Mondy and Noe - " Career planning is an ongoing process whereby an individual sets career goals and identifies the means to achieve them."

Importance of career planning[edit]

It is important to come up with your career planning as it gives you the much needed direction and makes it clear there where you see yourself in future. It makes you aware of your strength and weaknesses and the skills and knowledge that are required to achieve your goals in future.

A large proportion of our life is spent in achieving our career goals, thus it is very important to make sure that right steps were taken and correct planning was done in the early years of your life. There are very few lucky ones who are born with a clear mind and who knows what they want to do and where they see themselves in life ahead. But majority of us are not sure what we want from life and so it in very important to plan out things. Thus career planning is what gives your career and in some way your life, true meaning and purpose. Human life is the brilliant life and career play vital role in it. In short without a career in your life is useless.[1]

Process of career planning[edit]

The process of career planning is also known as career development stages and career development model. These steps help you in planning your career and deciding about your future.[2]

  • Self-development

Once you have self-analyzed yourself, the second step that awaits your attention is to fill the loopholes you have identified in the above step. By this we mean that in this step you have to see that what are the qualities and skills that are required by you to help you achieve your aims and goals. For instance you might decide that you need training or a particular course in a field in order to make you perfect for the profession you have chosen.[3]

It could be that you are interested in painting but you are not much aware of the trends or the knowledge that is required for this field. Or there can be a case where you are interested and much aware about a profession like teaching but you do not yet know that what is the niche level that is meant for you like and the subjects you can carry off pretty well.

  • A thorough research self-development

Once you have listed the careers that are favorable in your case and the skills and improvements that are required by you in order to achieve excellence the third step requires you to do an intensive research and see that what that are findings related to career options and the skills that are required to make you champion in that. You research will be looking into following questions:

  • What is the scope of the career you have chosen?
  • Will that career pay you off in the future?
  • Is there room for expansion in that career field?
  • Come up with action form

Once you have researched the feasibility of the factors that you have finalized in above steps, the next step is to show some action and translate your plans on a piece of page. This step requires you to make plan as in how you are going to achieve and fulfill the steps you have decided above. The best way to come with an action plan is to come up with small goals for oneself. Once these small goals are achieved, we can see that how much close we are to our main aim and major goal. This small step acts as a path way to the main aim.

  • Action

Once you are done with small goals and the main aim, the next step remains to start implementing your plans. Keep a very close track of your activities to make sure that you are on the right track and that by following this path you are surely going to achieve you goal!

See also[edit]


  • Ball, B. (1997). "Career management competences – the individual perspective". Career Development International. 2 (2): 74–79. doi:10.1108/13620439710163653.
  • Ibarra, Herminia (2003). Working identity: unconventional strategies for reinventing your career. Harvard Business Press. ISBN 978-1-57851-778-7.
  • Strenger, Carlo (2008). "The Existential Necessity of Midlife Change". Harvard Business Review. February. 2008: 82–90. Archived from the original on 2009-08-25.

Valentich, Mary & Gripton, James (1978). "Sexism and sex differences in career management of social workers. The Social Science Journal. 15(2), 101-111.