Career Development: Stage of Career

Are you at the very beginning of your career – or in the later stages?  In the former case, you need to think more about where you want to be than where you have been.  In the latter case, you need to consider what you have done to this point – as that usually provides a lot of direction for your next steps.  In the earlier stages, it can be challenging to gain a focus, whereas in later stages it can be difficult to think about things out of a particular range of focus!  The idea is to become more aware of where you are in your career and to develop plans for career development that will take you where you want to go.

This is the fourth of a series of four articles on the subject of career development, where we explore key influencers to inform better decisions about developing your skills and capabilities in your career.  This article, Part 4 in the series, Stage of Career, dives into the specific career development challenges unique to early, mid, or late career stages. Part 1 looks at the question of a Highly or Loosely Structured Approach as a preference of work style or type of work environment.  Part 2 looks at Hard Skills and Soft Skills in terms of preferences and tendencies, acknowledging that you need both to succeed. Part 3 considers Aptitude and Personality Testing as inputs for making career choices, and as influencers on career development decisions.  

Early Career:

This is a period of finding what you like to do, and can do.  In part this is done through experimentation, but it’s also done through setting a chosen foundation of skills and aptitudes – hopefully based on something that you like.  This is a time for exploring…and working hard…to build the foundation that you’ll need in mid-career and later. Exploring means reading all you can, talking with people in various areas that might interest you, building your network, and patiently but eagerly building your experience.  Don’t be afraid to make changes at this stage…but also be sure to give things enough time to develop!

Mid-Career:

This is a period of consolidating what you’ve done and leveraging it for further contributions in areas of choice moving forward.  Change tends to stabilize; changes are usually less frequent and less drastic, and usually build upon what you have already done or accomplished.  If you want to make more major changes, it almost always helps to take stock of what you have done and find a way to connect it to your next steps.

Late Career:

This is a period for continuing with mid-career items, but also rethinking early career – what do you want to do in the final years of your formal career and in your post-career years?  Taking stock of how things have gone – versus what you thought you wanted to do early in your career…to what you did, and maybe changed, in your mid-career. You may also have some inherent strengths that you have barely ever exercised in your career that you would love to now bring to the forefront.  

At what stage are you in your career?  What might that mean for you in terms of career development?

This Post is Part of the Series: Career Development

Here is a series of four articles that focus on the subject of career development.

Career Development: Highly or Loosely Structured Approach
Career Development: Hard Skills and Soft Skills
Career Development: Aptitude and Personality Testing
Career Development: Stage of Career