Career Development, Career Development Cycle

03/03/2021 1 By indiafreenotes

Career Development or Career Development Planning refers to the process an individual may undergo to evolve their occupational status. It is the process of making decisions for long term learning, to align personal needs of physical or psychological fulfillment with career advancement opportunities. Career Development can also refer to the total encompassment of an individual’s work-related experiences, leading up to the occupational role they may hold within an organization. Career Development can occur on an individual basis or a corporate and organizational level.

One might engage in classroom training in-house or at universities, or opt for special job or task force assignments, or especially early in the career, job rotation. Lateral moves and promotions are more difficult to use for developmental purposes. Managers with vacancies have their own objectives to meet and may be reluctant to fill openings with candidates designated for career development, rather than with those who have the best skills to do the job.

It is essential that career development be fully integrated with internal staffing activities. Career development provides a supply of talents and abilities. Individuals must be committed to and accept responsibility for their career development.

  • Growth Opportunities:

Individuals can expand their abilities by enrolling for training programmes, acquiring an additional degree, seeking new work assignments. When an opportunity arises in the organisation, employees with the required skills would be placed in that position.

  • Resignations:

When an individual sees career opportunity elsewhere which are not available in the existing organisation, resignation may be the only alternative. When used sparingly, it results in promotion, salary increase and a new learning experience.

  • Job Performance:

Career progression largely depends on the job performance; the better the performance, the higher the chances of going up the corporate ladder.

  • Mentors:

Mentors can aid career development by sharing their knowledge and insights and wisdom to help junior managers.


(1) Staffing and Orientation:

This phase is composed of providing career information to the job candidate (whether internal or external) and using selection techniques so as to match potential workers with the right job. The type of career information provided may include knowledge of jobs within the organization and possible career paths for the employee.

Selection techniques that are used to match employee and employment opportunity include assessment center exercises and job posting systems even for positions that are to be filled internally (a form of self-selection).

(2) Evaluation Phase:

This phase is characterized by two important aspects, namely performance review and succession planning. The purpose of performance review, from a career development perspective, is to provide feedback to employees on their skills and knowledge, both to increase job satisfaction and to help them prepare for their next job. Succession planning links information from and about individual employees to the human resource needs of the organization.

(3) Development Phase:

During the developing phase, more visible career development strategies are employed. Tools used during this phase include career discussions between employee and supervisor, career resource centers, self- assessment and career counseling, and career planning workshops.

Career Development Planning

On an individual basis, career planning encompasses a process in which the individual is self-aware of their personal needs and desires for fulfillment in their personal life, in conjunction with the career they hold. While every person’s experiences are unique, this contributes to the different careers that people will acquire over their lifespan.

  • Long Term Careers

Careers that are long term commitments throughout an individual’s life are referred to as ‘Steady-State Careers.’ The person will work towards their retirement with specialized skillsets learned throughout their entire life. For example, somebody would be required to complete a steady process of graduating from medical school and then working in the medical profession until they have retired. Steady-state careers may also be referred to as holding the same occupational role in an organization for an extended period and becoming specialized in the area of expertise. A retail manager who has worked in the sales industry for an extended period of their life would have the knowledge, skills, and attributes regarding managing non-managerial staff and coordinating job tasks to be fulfilled by subordinates.

A career that requires new initiatives of growth and responsibility upon accepting new roles can be referred to as ‘Linear Careers,’ as every unique opportunity entails a more significant impact of responsibility and decision making power on an organizational environment. A linear career path involves a vertical movement in the hierarchy of management when one is promoted. For example, a higher-level management position in a company would entail more responsibility regarding decision-making and allocation of resources to effectively and efficiently run a company. Mid-level managers and top-level managers/CEOs would be referred to as having linear careers, as their vertical movement in the organizational hierarchy would also entail more responsibilities for planning, controlling, leading, and organizing managerial tasks.

  • Short Term Careers

When individuals take on a short term or temporary work, these are ‘Transitory Careers’ and ‘Spiral Careers’. Transitory Careers occur when a person undergoes frequent job changes, in which each task is not similar to the preceding one. For example, a fast-food worker who leaves the food industry after a year to work as an entry-level bookkeeper or an administrative assistant in an office setting is a Transitory Career change. The worker’s skills and knowledge of their previous career will not be applicable to their new role.

A spiral career is any series of short term jobs that are non-identical to one another, but still contribute to skill-building of a specific attribute that individuals will accept over their lifetime. Many individuals can undergo slight career transitions or accept short-term contract work in the same work field, to build on different skill sets needed for them to succeed in an organizational environment. For example, an individual with a degree in Business hired to do ‘project management’ in one area of a department can be promoted or transferred to complete another task in the same department to work on ‘marketing’.

Career Development Cycle

  • Know Yourself

Interest, Values, Skills, Assets, Resources, Personality

  • Explore Possibilities

Research, try things out, Narrow choices, and explore new possibilities

  • Make Choices

Set Goals, develop a plan, Remove Barrier

  • Make it Happen

Convert plan into action, learn along the way, Achieve goals

Steps in Career Development cycle

  • Step 1: Needs:

This step involves in the conducting a needs assessment as a training programme.

  • Step 2: Vision:

The needs of the career system must be linked with the interventions. An ideal career development system known as the vision links the needs with the interventions.

  • Step 3: Action Plan:

An action plan should be formulated in order to achieve the vision. The support of the top management should be obtained in this process.

  • Step 4: Results:

Career development programme should be integrated with the organisation on-going employee training and management development programmes. The programme should be evaluated from time to time in order to revise the programme.

Career Life Cycle is a model that describes the stages of an individual’s career development. It is a useful tool for both individuals and organizations in understanding the different stages of a career and the corresponding developmental tasks that need to be accomplished at each stage. The career life cycle typically consists of four stages: exploration, establishment, maintenance, and decline.

  • Exploration:

This stage usually occurs during the early years of a career. During this stage, individuals are exploring different career options and trying to identify their interests, skills, and values. The primary developmental task during this stage is to gain self-awareness and explore different career options to find a good fit.

  • Establishment:

This stage occurs when individuals have found a career path that aligns with their interests, skills, and values. The primary developmental task during this stage is to establish oneself in a career and develop the necessary skills and competencies to succeed in that career.

  • Maintenance:

This stage occurs when individuals have established themselves in their careers and are focused on maintaining their success. The primary developmental task during this stage is to continue to develop one’s skills and competencies, expand one’s network, and take on new challenges to continue to grow and advance in one’s career.

  • Decline:

This stage occurs when individuals begin to transition out of their careers, either by choice or due to circumstances such as retirement. The primary developmental task during this stage is to plan for and manage the transition out of one’s career, including preparing for retirement or finding a new career path.