What is Career Management?

Updated: Dec 23, 2021

“Successful careers develop… when people are prepared for opportunities.” ~ Harvard Business Review ~

Career Management is a life-long process of investing resources to accomplish your future career goals. It is a continuing process that allows you to adapt to the changing demands of our dynamic economy. The career management process embraces various concepts: Self Management, career development planning/career exploration, life-long learning, and networking. Have you ever wondered if you’re in the ‘right’ career? Do you have traits, skills, and motivation to be successful in another career/industry? Is there an assessment that I can take to help guide me in the right direction? The answer is: Yes, but let’s go over the key fundamentals of Career Management.

Self Management

Look at yourself to discover your interests, skills, personality traits, and values. You can start by asking yourself the following questions:

  • Who are you?

  • What interests you?

  • What do you like to do?

  • What do you value, what's important to you?

  • What are your special assets, skills, and abilities?

  • What work environment and/or arrangements make sense for you?

  • What activities do I find fun, motivating, interesting, and enjoyable?

  • What skills do you need to acquire to develop and manage your career?

What personal style or characteristics do I have that are important to me in the workplace?

Also ask friends, family members, co-workers, professors, or mentors if they see the same qualities in you as you see in yourself.

Career Development Planning/Career Exploration

Career Development Planning is a process designed to help you to:

  • Take the time to think about your job/career goals

  • Focus on developing knowledge and skills for your current position and future job opportunities

  • Think about how you can utilize efficiently your strengths, talents, experience, and motivation – how can you use all of these aspects to increase your passion for work!

  • Be the architect of your career development plan – write your goals, decide to have a plan for your career development

Discuss your career development goals with your manager

Once you have made a career decision, you need to plan how you will carry out that decision. A career plan provides vision, structure, direction, and motivation for your career management process.

What do you think of Career Development Planning?

Usually, when we think of career management, we think of the goals or action items that we feel we need to move our careers forward. Often, we carry these thoughts around in our heads for long periods of time without ever writing them down. If we do write down our goals, they often take the form of a list, and many times we lose motivation after writing our goals down, misplace the list, and attain only some of our goals. That is why this method of thinking and just writing your career goals is not a very motivating or reinforcing process!

It is far more effective, motivating, and productive to think of career planning as a process that allows us to envision our future careers and then provides us a path to follow in attaining our goals and realizing our dreams. Career planning is not something that happens once or twice in one’s career. On the contrary, it is a recurring process of taking the time to assess one’s identity, setting new goals, creating new career horizons, and celebrating successes as one develops and becomes more knowledgeable and skilled.

Life-long Learning

Are you surprised to know how much of the daily work is now based around technology? Computers, smartphones, tablets, and other technological devices have drastically affected how we conduct work. The consequences of these advancements and innovations will quickly reflect through the economy, affecting many industries and catapulting others into the limelight. It is clearly up to you to be able to adapt to these ongoing innovations which will be directly related to how current you keep your knowledge and skills. You need to consider how to vary your learning investments in time, energy, and resources. Examples may include: credentialed coursework, certificate programs (related to your career/interest), joining cutting-edge forums/projects/committees/task forces, attending conferences, or simply staying current in professional reading.


As we have moved to information, service, and technology-focused economy, our personal and professional networking relationships have become essential assets. These relationships will be the source of information about how emerging fields and industries are evolving. In addition, personal and professional relationships will transcend specific companies, communities, and industries. Our ability to interact, respond and connect in our relationships will directly impact our present performance and future career opportunities.

Remember that keeping connected and knowing how to build good relationships are more important than ever before. These skills can be developed in applied communication courses, contact management software, effective listening, and your authentic desire to know more people.

Self assessment as the foundation

Knowing who you are is the first step (self management above) but then you must link that multi dimensional understanding with a multitude of possibilities and desires. You need structure to make tangible progress, and that is where assessment tools come into the picture.

Let’s start with determining your strengths and growth opportunities across the key concepts discussed above and apply them to industries where your strengths would be applicable by taking our Career Management assessment. This assessment will pose a set of questions to you, obtain your responses and create a structured career management report that will clearly identify your strengths, growth opportunities and give you a list of industries that you are suited to.

Assessment tools bring everything together to give you a picture of what might be good or “less good” for you. Even if you don’t think the snapshot is 100% accurate the response/report structure makes a good basis for further discussion or coaching.

Ken Kavanagh, President of Orion Learning


37 views1 comment

Recent Posts

See All