What is Career Planning and Development?

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  • Written By: Florence J. Tipton
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 10 November 2019
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Career planning and development is a lifelong process of psychological, behavioral and experiential influences that shape the lifespan of a career. This process begins during high school as values and interests take shape. It helps to have a written career development plan to remain focused on the actions necessary for accomplishing goals and objectives related to a career. This plan should include information about a target occupation and the required education and training needed to qualify for the job.

Career planning and development processes will also include a personal assessment of a person’s character traits, strengths and weaknesses to assist with identifying suitable occupations. This self-awareness expands the understanding of the present and future skill set that a person brings to a career. A person also gathers information about preferred work environments through employment experiences and developmental needs for areas of improvement. Achievements and performance reviews that outline abilities and successes are included.

Simultaneous research and career development information on current and potential employers with similar values and expectations of its employees reveal the opportunities for career growth. Facts and figures about a particular industry’s future will support making the right career choices. The career planning and development process continues even after landing the perfect job; the fluid business environment requires staying abreast of current events and changes that can affect the industry.


Training programs for career advancement opportunities are an important part of career planning and development. A continuous building of skills and knowledge will help a person excel and gain key competencies related to an occupation. Volunteering for a team project at work or becoming involved in a professional career association can increase one's visibility and growth opportunities.

Some companies offer career development programs for employees. When one makes productive contributions to an organization, it benefits both the individual and the employer. Career development programs also lead to effective strategic succession planning within the company. Succession planning prepares employees for career advancement into senior-level positions after the employees holding those positions retire or transfer to other positions.

The career planning and development process outlines essential information gathered to write a résumé and prepare for job interviews and promotions. A résumé is the synopsis of the person’s work experiences and professional and personal achievements targeting a particular job. The résumé is the primary marketing tool for putting one's career plan into action. The first impression counts during the job interview, whether it is for a new position or promotion. Qualifications and accomplishments that demonstrate the person’s competency should be highlighted.


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