Useful Career Development Tools to Help Achieve Your Goals?
A great crafts-person needs good tools to create their best works. And people who want to maximize their career (and earning potential), need good career development tools.
Five of the Most Commonly Used Career Development Tools:
1. One-on-one professional career development coaching.
2. Creating and implementing a career development plan.
3. Using career development assessments.
4. Peer and colleague reviewing and brainstorming.
5. Employee performance appraisals from employers.
Career coaching is probably the most commonly used career development tool.
Its success is based around the interdependent nature of human beings.
Although many people can achieve success quite independently, most people will be more successful if they have somebody else supporting them and believing in them along the way.
For full details on why and how career coaching works, see my career development coaching page.
Creating a career development plan is one of my favored career development tools, simply because it is easy to implement and it can be done without any outside career help.
A professional career development plan forces you to think seriously about what you really want to achieve in your work life.
It then provides a series of action steps and accountability to achieve your career objectives.
Every area of our life in which we proactively plan will invariably result in greater success.
And this is the core reason why career development planning is such an important career tool.
For more information and instructions on how to create your own career development plan see the five year career development plan and the sample career development plan where you will find career development plan examples as well as a download for a free career development plan template.
3. Career Development Assessment
A key component of successful career planning is to implement a regular assessment of your career objectives to ensure you are achieving your goals.
This is often integrated into the goal setting of a career development plan (see above).
But if your career planning is taking place in-house with your employer, a career development assessment will usually be structured and managed by human resource personnel.
If the organization you work for is typical of many businesses, you may find your career development is not as important to them as it is to you. There is where you need to be quite proactive and persistent about your desire for your employer to be on-board with your career development direction. If your organization is not initiating regular career development reviews, or not following through on agreed strategies, you should respectfully and regularly remind them to do so (the squeaky door gets the oil).
4. Peer and Colleague Review and Brainstorming
Sometimes enlisting the help of your peers into the career planning process can be a useful, informal and one of the most cost effective career development tools.
Although this probably won’t be as valuable as employing a professional career development coach, it does have the benefit of getting some close insight from people you work with on a day-to-day basis.
An important step to this is to ensure that those you enlist will be honest with you in regards to the way they see your natural abilities and the areas where you don’t have much ability.
Another useful model is where you gather together a small group meeting [4-5] of like-minded people for a career brainstorm that all participants will benefit from. This group could include people you work with directly, or others in the industry who work outside your organization, or clients, or suppliers, or…
Here is the approximate agenda for the meeting: [let everybody know the agenda beforehand so they can be prepared]. For this exercise to be effective, most of the group should know each other.
1. Get each member in the group to communicate to each other what they see as others natural abilities and strengths. [Either record the sessions or have somebody take notes so you have a copy of what was said]
2. Have each person present a very brief one to five year career development plan to the group.
Brainstorm ideas for each person in turn about ways in which their career objectives could be:
- fulfilled in better ways than the recipient has identified in their plan
- achieved faster
- or in any other way that may improve the career journey of the recipient.
3. Use the group as a career networking platform for each other.
Around 70% of all jobs are gained through the “hidden” job market.
The hidden job market is simply all jobs that are filled without being advertised – most jobs are never advertised.
A good proportion of the hidden job market success flows from relationships between friends, acquaintances and industry colleagues.
One of the first things many employers do when they are looking for a new employee is to ask their current employees and work colleagues if they know of anybody who would be good for the job.
For this reason alone a small informal networking group is well worth considering as one of your career development aids. Platforms like Linked In use this networking principle, but there is something about meeting in person that makes this more powerful.
5. Employee Performance Appraisals from Past and Present Employer’s
What common strengths and noted abilities have been identified in your past appraisals on more than one occasion?
When a number of past performance appraisals are gone over, some important information about you can be gleaned and used to help you analyze where your strengths and weaknesses are. And this is helpful in mapping out your career advancement as you try to build on your strengths and mitigate your weaknesses.
But performance appraisals are only as good as the people who create them.
If the appraisal was written by someone for whom you had respect and treated you fairly and honestly, then the information they provide about your career strengths and weaknesses can be quite valuable.
And if a number of appraisals through the years have said similar things about your strengths and weaknesses, chances are they’ll be accurate.
Although a lot of employee performance appraisals are angled toward identifying areas for improvement, the real gems are when strengths are identified.
I also recommend completing the inborn job skills assessment to enhance your knowledge of your innate giftedness.
Other topics related to this career development article include: