The 6 Stages of Career Development and Courses to Help Evolve Your Skills
One can develop their career at their own pace, whether or not they realize it. Sometimes this involves formalized learning programs; other times it could involve finding a mentor or shadowing another team member.
As your first step, evaluate your current career skills. Determine which may be transferrable across positions or industries.
Stage 1: Assessment
At this phase of career development, individuals must assess their interests and skills to discover which profession would best match them. While this process can be intimidating and time-consuming when handled alone, mentors or managers can often be invaluable resources in this process. We suggest our course on assessing skills as a starting point to find which careers interest you the most and help uncover which field could suit you the best.
Before beginning work, individuals go through an exploration career development phase. At this trial stage, individuals investigate matters related to work and determine attitudes about it and dominant social patterns. People often struggle to find the occupation that suits them perfectly so they may try different jobs before finding one that works; this often causes high turnover rates in organizations.
Once an employee finds their ideal field, they move into the establishment stage of their career. Here, they gain expertise in their chosen area while possibly taking up additional training to hone their craft further. The goal of this stage is for each professional to manage all daily, weekly, and monthly obligations associated with their new position without experiencing difficulty or strain.
Stage 2: Investigation
At this stage, you begin exploring your work options. This may include researching which jobs are available within an industry that interests you or understanding how your skillset could be leveraged.
Before making changes in your career, you must conduct an impact analysis. Otherwise, switching jobs without first considering what would improve your life may lead to unexpected results - such as lower pay scale or working from home office options; or more substantial steps such as learning new skills to help advance in your field.
The establishment stage refers to the period during which you begin searching for and accepting your first job appointment. Here, you go through the hiring process, accept an offer of employment, and begin socialization within an organization. However, this stage can be challenging since mistakes must be made while taking on additional responsibilities.
The preparation stage refers to when you begin working in your chosen profession and take steps toward furthering your career journey. This may involve furthering education or taking additional training programs; even taking on leadership roles could be considered advancement. Also during this stage, networking with professionals a few years ahead can provide valuable advice.
Stage 3: Preparation
At this stage of their career development process, an employee should identify which skills are essential for moving forward in their chosen career path. If necessary, a training course or independent study might help them acquire these abilities; conversely, they may discuss strategies with their manager for improving growth within their company or industry.
Knowledge in a field or profession remains essential, but today's workplace environment often emphasizes developing soft skills like curiosity, resilience, and creativity as equally crucial contributors to career success. Although these soft abilities may be harder to recognize or measure directly, their contribution can still make an important impactful statement about who we are as employees.
As an employer, you must offer employees clear opportunities for advancement. A recent Capterra remote work culture survey found that salary and workplace environment topped the list of factors affecting employees' job satisfaction; opportunities to advance in roles came second (Gartner clients can access content here). Offering professional development courses can help employees focus on what steps are needed to meet their goals: this may involve learning new skills or certifications aligning with their career paths or taking on additional projects outside their normal remit.
Stage 4: Commitment
The Commitment Stage is a career development stage where an individual feels certain they know exactly what they want to do. Sometimes people realize what they wanted all along but were unable to pursue it because of various obstacles; now is an opportune moment to explore flexible options to achieve work-life harmony.
Once an individual has conducted a comprehensive assessment and investigated various career paths before selecting their desired field, they can start preparing for it by studying the qualifications and experience required as well as developing professional skills - this may also involve networking or creating their professional presence on social media sites such as LinkedIn.
Commitment Phase. An employee in this phase is content with their career choice and may choose to remain at their current job for decades, without needing to outstrip previous levels of performance or try and match previous years' levels of excellence. At this point, one often enjoys acting as an elder statesperson to younger employees while gaining respect from them in return. Eventually, this phase leads up to retirement.
Stage 5: Retention
At this stage, an employee begins to settle into their new role. They have met all their goals set during the assessment phase and feel ready to take on more responsibilities and challenges.
At this stage, employees may still feel disoriented in their roles and doubt whether or not they possess what it takes to advance in their careers. Professional development provides opportunities to explore other career paths or specializations; shadowing someone from another department or enrolling in an online course that develops skills may all provide useful solutions.
Capterra's 2022 remote work culture survey indicates that employee job satisfaction ranks highest and career development second, yet only 30% of respondents agreed their organization provided enough opportunities for career progression (full data available to customers).
Employers looking to retain their employees should provide more training and development opportunities, along with prompting them to regularly reevaluate their goals by seeking feedback from supervisors and peers. An ideal way of accomplishing this would be implementing a 360-degree feedback system and scheduling meetings that focus on performance and collaboration.
Stage 6: Transition
The transition stage refers to when individuals begin actively striving to advance within their career field, such as taking on challenging projects or becoming leaders within their workplace. At this time, relationships must be developed that will aid you on your career development journey.
Once individuals have conducted an in-depth evaluation, researched job opportunities, and prepared themselves for their chosen profession, the next step should be commitment. This step in career development allows individuals to create a clear picture of their plans and how they wish to progress.
Commitment can be an uncomfortable step for employees, taking time for them to adjust to their new career choices and feel at home with them. But by remaining committed, employees may experience success and fulfillment through their work if they continue improving their skills, cultivating relationships among colleagues, and taking advantage of educational opportunities designed to assist their current roles.
Career development is an ongoing cycle that occurs throughout one's professional life. It encompasses assessment, exploration, preparation, and placement; many employees reenter each stage multiple times throughout their careers.
At this stage, employees gain insight into themselves - their strengths and weaknesses, interests, values, and desired professional life outcomes. Furthermore, this exercise helps them develop goals for themselves that are both challenging and attainable.
At this stage, employees explore different jobs or tasks until they find one that meets their needs. Internships or volunteer opportunities may provide valuable experience. Reading books about famous people may help indicate what might make an interesting career choice.
The career preparation stage is the period where employees hone their basic work skills and start understanding the demands of their job. At this point, employees begin taking on more responsibilities and leading team members. Employees who reach this phase and go on to climb higher are known as climbers; unfortunately, some employees cannot reach this level of success and eventually plateau or begin declining in their career paths.