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The term "career management" is a bit abstract for some people. It sounds like this fluffy, indefinable concept that doesn't really mean a whole lot. In reality, career management is a very significant and specific process that, when done properly, helps to ensure long-term career success.


Career management is sort of like contributing to your own career piggy bank. It's similar to good financial planning. A disciplined investment in your career made on a regular basis yields a greater return. In other words, if you want to grow your career, you have to "work it daily."

In order to get the most out of your career, you have to put some effort into caring for it. Left to its own devices, your career may end up wildly off course. Without a structured career management plan, you'll quickly find yourself doing what's easy or convenient or what others want you to do. You may discover your future goals don't align with your present-day actions. And, before you know it, your career will be managing you.

Here's the truth about the process and purpose of career management.

1. Career Management Is A Lifelong Process

Two colleagues talk about career management

The first point to understand is career management is not a single event; it's a part of your career journey. Don't put it off until you suddenly realize there's a problem. Just like a car, regular maintenance will help ensure a smooth ride.

2. Career Management Is An Active Process

Woman manages her career

You can't simply sit back and let others do the work for you. Otherwise, you'll end up in someone else's career! You have to be an active, engaged participant—a proactive professional.

3. Career Management Is A Structured Process

Man makes a plan to manage his career

Career management is most beneficial when it is carefully structured. Without structure, most of us would neglect it until an emergency came along. Structure helps keep the process moving at a steady, stable pace regardless of what's happening.

4. Career Management Is About Establishing, Tracking, And Correcting

Happy woman manages her career

Here are some things you need to establish, track, and correct in your career:

  • Establish Goals - The real nitty-gritty of career management is in understanding what you're trying to achieve. This, for many people, can also be the hardest part. Each goal should be broken down into tasks that, once completed, will achieve the goal. A timeline can then be created to map each step along the way.
  • Track Goals - Monitoring progress is a satisfying and useful strategy. Career management involves regularly checking in on established goals and the movement being made. This helps prevent stagnation and ensures career goals are being methodically incorporated into the rest of your life.
  • Course-Correct - Career goals will change and grow just as you do. Part of the career management process involves monitoring and adjusting them as needed. Each step along the way will heighten your understanding of what you want and how to get there. The map isn't set in stone. As you move forward, the career management process will help you identify new paths and new destinations.

Participating in a structured career management process demonstrates the important role career plays in your life as a whole. For most people, your career can provide you with the means to achieve a great number of other personal goals, like buying a house or starting a family or traveling the world. Work also occupies a huge portion of our time spent on this planet, so managing your career is clearly a worthwhile investment of energy.


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This article was originally published at an earlier date.

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