Stages of Career Development

Apr 2, 2020

While the rest of the world may be paused, your career development does not need to also.

Despite the current circumstances, you can still make personal improvements that further your career goals.

Use this time of interruption to reflect upon where you are in the life span of your career. Additionally, consider what you want from your career going forward. Expect your answers to vary widely based on the stages of career development.  

The two types of development are Traditional Career Development and Modern Career Development, and each comes with stages of its own.

Traditional Development.

5 Stages of Traditional Career Development

Exploration – This is the period of transition from college to work.  This stage involves exploration and making preliminary career choices.

Establishment – The next stage is marked by your first job.  It typically lasts 3 – 5 years and is where you develop competency.  

Mid-Career – At this next point, you are a seasoned career professional.  You’re updating and developing your skills, but feelings of unrest may enter in.  This stage typically occurs between mid-thirties and mid-forties. Questions like, “What’s next?” or “What else might there be?” may begin to surface at this stage.

Late Career – This is the beginning of the end.  Successors are identified and developed in preparation for the future.

Decline – This is the final stage of one’s career and culminates with retirement.

Progressing from exploration to decline is a natural occurrence in one’s work life. This is the typical experience for most of this generation’s workforce.  However, there is an alternate course that exists at the same time which reflects modern career development, the necessary response to present-day career satisfaction and life fulfillment..

Modern Career Development 

6 Stages of Modern Career Development

Assessment – This is the stage when you begin to want to know more about yourself, what makes you tick.  Assessments and career coaches are often engaged at this point to gain a better understanding of one’s values, strengths, and weaknesses.

Investigation – This is the discovery stage and can include feelings of confusion. This stage is driven by the question, “What else might there be?” Research and informational interviews are conducted in order to understand the variety of work that exists in the world.

Preparation – Things are moving along, and you are gaining knowledge and setting goals at this point. Feelings of overwhelm and confusion begin to be replaced by excitement at this stage.

Commitment – By this point you have figured out the next phase of your career. You commit to your goals by focusing your energy and keeping your eye on the target. Job searches take hold at this stage, followed by negotiating and accepting an offer.

Retention – At this step you feel comfortable in your career field.  You remain committed by continuing to update your skills and invest time and energy in building your professional network.

Transition – And because we live in an era of multi-dimensional career lives, it is not unheard of to enter the stage of transition more than once by  re-entering the realms of conscious decision making about the next stop on one’s career path.    

Figuring It All Out

From my experiences coaching people nationwide, I hear all the time among people contemplating a career change of some sort, be it inside or outside their organization,“I’ve been thinking about it for awhile,”  “I feel stuck,” “What else might there be for me,” or “I want to do something that is meaningful and that I can be excited about.”  

It takes courage to face the uncertainties that lie behind a new door.  If you find yourself on this emotional journey and you don’t know where to begin, I’m ready to help.  

Start with a Career Inventory. We can figure out your development and stages together. Do that with a simple click here.  

Be more than ready for today; be invested in your future