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Career Development Planning: The Road Ahead

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At some point in every person’s life, he or she will leave school and go into the work force. Many young people think that is the point at which career development planning begins. For a few people, yes it is. But for most people, career development planning begins well before they leave high school. By their mid-teens, most people have developed values and interests. They have personality traits, as well as likes and dislikes. Most people have some idea of what sort of work they would like to do.

Most people spend most of their adult years engaged in some sort of work. Of course it is important to earn money. But it is also important that a person do the kind of work he or she likes to do. That is why career development planning is necessary. It begins while you are in high school, when you choose courses that are going to be useful to you on the road ahead. This is also a “trying out” period, in which you can get a hands-on experience with various subjects to find out if you like them. Here, too, students can consult with counselors who can tell them what is involved in various types of work, and what a person has to do to prepare for a career in that field.

By this time most young people will have had some sort of part time job. This, too, is important for career development planning. Your after school, part time job might not be the sort of work you want to do for the rest of your life, but it can provide you with some vital tools for starting out. It is through this job that you gain employment experience, learn to be punctual, and demonstrate a willingness to learn new skills. It is through this part time job, in the form of a recommendation from the employer, that you can show future potential employers that you are a reliable, trustworthy employee who works well with other people.

Career development planning means knowing about the labor market, but more importantly it means knowing about yourself. What are your strengths and abilities? How well do you present yourself? A personnel officer is going to make the decision on whether or not to hire you, based on what is in your resume, and how you conduct yourself during an interview.

Knowing about the labor market means becoming familiar with the world of work. Career development planning gives you a systematic method by which to find a job. There are many more jobs than those listed in newspaper want ads. Career development planning shows you how to explore this “hidden” job market. It also makes you aware of training programs that will make you eligible to seek employment at higher levels.


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