Modern Career Management

Wikipedia says that career management is the combination of structured planning and the active management choice of one's own professional career. The outcome of successful career management should include personal fulfilment, work/life balance, goal achievement and financial security.

Workers are experiencing more mobility generally in their careers, spending less time with one employer and making major career changes throughout their working life. The way we work now is characterised by disruption, temporary, contract and contingent work assignments, and we have to think differently about career progression.

In the current environment it is likely that most people will change careers several times during their lifetime. This means that career management is an important life skill to acquire and cultivate. We think it is important that you are committed to developing your personal and professional skills in order to make the most out your strengths and potential.

Options and choices

There is no one size fits all solution and you will need to review options and review aspects of your career management plan from time to time throughout your working life.

Your starting point should be developing an awareness of what is important in terms of your career development. This should include reflection on key drivers, skills, interests, personality, your values and how they affect your career choices.

Take stock of your current position and identify skills, experience and qualifications that will aid career progression; assess individual experience; identify gaps in light of what is required to move on; and think how to accrue the relevant experience. For some roles, your specific technical or specialist skills may be particularly important but most employers will be interested in your ‘transferable’ or generic skills.

After some rigorous self-appraisal you can start exploring options and assess what are likely to be realistic choices in view of what you have to offer in the current job market and in light of the opportunities available. You should also consider what you can do to improve your chances (i.e. how to remedy any gaps in your skills or experience) and do some serious networking with relevant contacts to help your decision-making. You need clarity around how best to achieve your goals and devise contingency plans in case your initial choices do not work out successfully.

Plan for success

There are things you can do to improve your chance of success:

  • Keep an eye on relevant journals and websites for information, contacts and vacancies
  • Talking to your colleagues and peers who may have a network of contacts you can explore
  • Network at conferences with other delegates to find out what areas of work are of interest to them and following up relevant leads
  • Enhance your commercial awareness (via networking, collaborations, social media)
  • Investigate your options through networking and research
  • Look for job ideas from professional body web pages  or from a specialist publication in your field
  • Gain extra skills or qualifications, e.g. languages, proof-reading, learning a new software program

If you are looking to take a new direction in your career consider occupations which will capitalise on your existing strengths, e.g. those with good problem-solving skills might consider management consultancy, logistics or IT; those with demonstrable writing ability might consider technical writing.

Career management is an ongoing activity and good career management will help you plan an effective strategy for achieving your short and long-term goals.

For further advice on career management for yourself or your teams please contact us on 0333 240 8115 or email

Posted: Thursday 14 February 2019

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