What is Career Development?

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  • Written By: Alison Faria
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 20 November 2019
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Career development is an organized planning method used to match the needs of a business with the career goals of employees. Formulating a career development plan can help employees to do their jobs more efficiently. Additionally, these plans can be beneficial for employees who might want to move up in a company or look for other jobs in the future.

In the business world, there are generally two groups that direct the career development process: upper management and human resource personnel. Managers, for example, might have the responsibility of making sure the needs of a business coincide with the employee's career goals to achieve an overall balanced work atmosphere. They will often identify the skills, experience, and knowledge employees need in order to provide their best possible work.

Human resource (HR) personnel are often responsible for providing career development information programs for employees. Professional networking is usually important, and as a result, employees might get tools to start networking from the HR department. HR managers also usually provide a compensation structure that compliments business needs but also allows individual career growth. For example, employees who have exhibited a certain improvement or growth in needed skills might be promoted and given a raise.


Regardless of company leadership, employees have the primary responsibility to make sure their career development goals proceed how they want them to. Typically, employees assess what they want from their job currently, as well as in the future. Employees often work with their supervisors to figure out what training, professional development, or continued education options are available to them.

Sometimes, career development is explored by people who are not employees of a business. Instead, these people might be interested in creating a set of guidelines to help them to choose a career and get hired by a desired company. This typically involves a self-assessment in which a person usually considers things that he or she is naturally good at or has experience in. Additional things to consider include interests and learning styles. The self-assessment generally helps an individual to select careers they are the most interested in pursuing.

Individuals often continue their career development plan by preparing strategies for job interviews. Candidates who are not naturally good speakers, for example, might choose to enroll in an interview preparation program. In this kind of program, a mock interview is often conducted to see how well individuals respond to questions. The results are typically analyzed to determine things that can be adjusted in preparation for real interviews.


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Post 4

I thought of doing my mba project with regard to career development. I found this were perfect material and useful to me in many ways.

Post 3

Some companies even receive career development awards and grants, if they make a particular effort to help their employees advance.

When you're looking for jobs, if you have the luxury, look for companies that have a super record of career development -- those are usually the ones with the best attitude towards junior staff, and the best prospects for advancement.

Post 2

I was wondering what kind of training it takes to become a career development facilitator or professional.

I've worked in HR before, and my favorite part of the whole thing was helping people to advance, so I thought that with a bit of career development training I might make a good facilitator.

Has anyone made this kind of transition before, or know anything about career development theory that could help me out?

Post 1

This was a very interesting article to me -- my daughter recently started at a new job, and she had to fill in a survey from HR about career development.

I had never heard of anything like that (career development opportunities were kind of scarce in my first jobs) so I googled it to see what this whole career/professional development thing was about, and landed here.

Very helpful, thanks.

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