It’s often been said that ‘every pot has a lid’, or ‘every lock has a key’. What this means is that there is something for everyone. Similarly, when it comes to careers, the familiar that we hear about every day, or the more obscure career paths we wouldn’t think of like a mattress tester (talk about a dream job), there is someone out there who is made for that position. For some people, finding a career they will spend years in is easy. Not so for many others. National Career Development Month is the perfect opportunity to stop, assess and find out what type of lid you are and what kind of pot you fit on. We’re here to help.

National Career Development Month (USA)

November is National Career Development Month. Since its inception in 1999 by the National Career Development Association, NCDM has worked to promote career development, growth, and planning for people of all ages. November provides you with the opportunity to assess all aspects of your journey.

Many people don’t realise that their career is in their hands. It can be challenging and indeed sometimes easier to just go with the flow and get any paycheck. But for the number of years, you will spend in a job, it’s worthwhile to take time and own your career development.

What is career development?

Career development refers to the various actions an individual can do to charter their career path. It’s a structured process that individual’s use to choose a career, enhance their skills, and move forward on the chosen career path. This is a tailored strategy that focuses on matching an employee’s skills and abilities to the tasks of an organisation. It’s a lifelong process that involves learning, evolving, and aligning one’s personal needs with their physical or psychological needs.

Why career development is important

The biggest reason career development is important is because well, it’s your career. If you’re not growing, you’re dying. It’s a tad dramatic but the point is when you don’t grow in any area of your life, you begin to feel stagnant. And feeling stagnant is one way to drain your vigor, affect your mental health, and reduce your engagement and productivity at work.  

  • Helps companies and organisations attract and retain high-value employees
  • Improves employee motivation, engagement, and productivity
  • Contributes to one’s self worth, identity, purpose, and self-confidence
  • Employee career satisfaction
  • Maintains your employability in the ever-changing professional landscape.

Investing in your career is what will move you forward professionally and improve your overall job satisfaction. Additionally, with the changing global demands and competencies required, you need to constantly work to improve your skills to succeed in the job market.

How to get involved in National Career Development Month

Career development is for everyone, regardless of the stage of your career. If you’re a student, it’s a good time to start thinking about your career goals and what you need to do to get there. If you’re an employee and have been working for a year, five or even 20 years, you can still make a bold career switch. And if you’re an employer, you too can use this month to help your employees become their best professional selves by providing them with the knowledge and support they need to develop in their roles and careers.

Here are a few ways you can start your career development journey:

  • Job shadow. Identify an individual or career you want and ask if you can spend time shadowing them to determine if the roles and responsibilities are what you want for yourself.
  • Build your resume. Make use of Alison’s Resume Builder tool to help you create a tailored resume to get you your dream career started.
  • Create a career vision board. It may sound “old-school” but create a vision board of what you want your career to look like. This will help you begin working towards it.
  • Improve your skills. Our Workplace Personality Assessment helps you discover your strengths and weaknesses and provides you with a list of recommended courses to get your career where you want it to be.

As an employer, you can play a role in helping your employees along their career development path. You can create an environment that allows your workforce to change careers and as they grow.

Here are a few ways employers can support their workforce on their career development journey:

  • Develop a mentorship programme. This gives employees a chance to learn from leaders in their fields to provide them with tips on growing professionally.
  • Host webinars and learning opportunities. These, in the form of study support and courses, contribute to career development. A skilled workforce improves company output and improves employee wellness.
  • Check-ins. Create a safe space for honest and open conversations around the annual performance reviews to find out if they are engaged in their career growth goals and what support they need to keep moving forward.

At the end of the day, we are all responsible for our individual career development. You may not always be able to control everything, but you can take steps and own what you do to have the career you dream of.

This National Career Development Month, make the decision to own your career. Begin preparing yourself for new opportunities, say yes to taking chances, prioritise upskilling yourself, seek guidance and use the tools at your disposal to reach your career goals. 

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