Why Career Development Matters

Career development is about more than deciding on an occupation to pursue or an industry to work in. It is about more than selecting a course stream in high school, a post-secondary education institution, or an education or training program. It is about more than finding a job or getting a promotion. Career development is about the decisions you make every day, throughout your life, that move you toward your goals and your dreams. It is about managing all the transitions you will be faced with, in all aspects of your life.

Recognizing that your goals and your dreams will change throughout your life and that career development isn’t about making just one decision is important. The key word in career development is “development”. You probably had a good idea when you were 5 years old about what you wanted to “do” or “be” when you grew up, didn’t you? Your ideas were based on your knowledge of the world at that particular point in your life. By the time you were 15 years old your understanding of yourself and the world around you had changed significantly – not only were you older but you had learned some new skills and been involved in different activities, you had met new people, and your awareness had shifted. Now, whether you are in your 20’s, 40’s, or 80’s your life experiences and your choices have shaped who you are. You have acquired and developed skills, you have engaged in various formal and informal learning opportunities, you have experienced the complexities of the world of work, and you have endured successes and challenges that have influenced your goals and your dreams.

As we grow and develop, and as our life circumstances change, we are often forced to adjust and adapt to a new reality. Just as we grow and develop so too does the world around us. The labour market changes, the economy booms and busts, technology and automation influence how we live and how we work. Career development is what helps us to imagine and invent a new reality – a new preferred future.

Because “career” not only encompasses work but also learning, leisure, and life roles, career development takes into consideration all aspects of career – your interests, values, and skills; your knowledge of “self” and the realities of the world around you; and your personal situation and circumstances. Career development is in not a one-time event. It is ongoing and it is intentional. Making the next right choice for you takes honest reflection. It is about acknowledging and accepting your strengths and your challenges and making choices that are right for you. It is also about hope, motivation, and determination. It is about taking chances.

The Blueprint for Life/Work Designs frameworks 11 competencies in 3 areas that are needed to manage career development throughout the lifespan. The first area is personal management and the competencies include: building and maintaining a positive self-image; interacting positively and effectively with others; and changing and growing throughout one’s life. Participating in life-long learning supportive of life/work goals; locating and effectively using life / work information; and understanding the relationship between work and society / economy make up the second area which is learning and work exploration. The third area, life / work building, includes securing / creating and maintaining work; making life / work enhancing decisions; maintaining balanced life and work roles; understanding the changing nature of life / work roles; and understanding, engaging in, and managing one’s own life / work building process.

Where are you at in each of the 3 areas? What areas need your attention? In what areas could you mentor someone else? The New Year is a great time to take stock of your career development skills and to plan for the next phase of your future. Career development matters because it is about YOU managing YOUR life. It is about YOU living the life of your dreams!

Happy New Year and best wishes for your preferred future,


For a FREE 30 minute job search consultation please feel free to contact Paula directly at or 780.589.2245.

For a FREE 30 minute consultation please feel free to contact Paula directly at or 780.589.2245. Connect with Paula on LinkedIn or Facebook.

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