Developing Life-Long Career Skills

Many organizations today are emphasizing “self-directed career development”–putting employees in charge of their own careers with accountability for charting career journeys and assuming responsibility for seeking out what they need for career development. While that might be empowering to some employees, others ask: Where do I begin?  What do I need to know or do?  Who will help me?

We think that there are several critical career skills that could be good places to start.  For example:

  1. Start with the end in mind. Although it may be difficult for many people to project far into the future, it could be useful to ponder what you would like to have achieved by the time you retire or stop working steadily or discontinue full-time work, even for a short period.  Then, work backward from where you are now to where you want to be at that point.
  2. Consider your hopes, dreams and aspirations.  What would you do if money did not matter?  What did you want to be when you were growing up?  What if you could change direction right now?  What would you be doing?
  3. What are your strongly held values—those core beliefs that guide your life?  How do they impact what you want to do or contribute to this world?
  4. What are your attributes and skills–both functional, industry and transferable skills? Which do you most enjoy using?
  5. What are the challenges and barriers you might encounter if you changed career directions?  What would it mean to your life if you could achieve any or all of your career dreams?

If you can reflect on these questions and have meaningful conversations about your answers–career conversations–you could be well on your way to developing life-long career skills. Careers are about journeys not destinations, and your journey make take many detours.  Hone these skills and come back to them often.  Tell us how you do or what questions you have. Let’s have a career conversation.