What Are Career Development Models?

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  • Written By: G. Wiesen
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 22 November 2019
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Career development models are systems, often used with simple visual aids, a person can utilize to better understand what type of career he or she should pursue. There are a number of different models that have been developed over time, and by different people, to assist with this process. In general, however, they all share a number of different steps intended as a means by which a person can come to better understand his or her abilities and the marketplace. Career development models are often self-reciprocating and usually include a final step and initial step that overlap.

Most career development models are designed by psychologists, counselors, or human resources (HR) specialists who help others better understand their own professional aptitudes. They are not tests designed to help a person find his or her ideal career, but are instead models by which a person can analyze and understand what he or she might be best suited for. A model often, for example, begins with a period of evaluation or analysis. Most career development models have a person use this initial step to consider his or her own abilities, as well as the needs of various marketplaces that may interest him or her.


Once this analysis is complete, then many career development models move into one or more stages of planning and execution. This can be done in a single stage or multiple stages, depending on the model a person is using. A period of exploration is often part of this stage, as the person uses the information gathered through analysis to take a closer look at where his or her interests lie. Some career development models also use these stages as a time for someone to better understand the realities of his or her own abilities or of the market he or she may wish to enter.

Career development models often follow this stage of development and planning with action. At this point, the person uses the information that has been gathered, as well as his or her plan, and actually executes the plan. Following this execution, there is then a period of reflection or analysis in which the person comes to understand how well his or her previous exploration and planning worked once put into action. This final stage of analysis ultimately overlaps with the evaluation, or revaluation, stage of a new series of steps to be taken as the development model begins again.


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