5 Steps to Proactive Career Development

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It’s never too early to consider viewing college decisions as they relate to career development.  In fact, as a career counselor, I prefer to look beyond any current career decision fork in the road to consider the impact of an immediate choice on a total lifework experience that one will produce over one’s lifetime.

Decisions Can Be Overwhelming

Thinking beyond the immediate decision to its long-term impact can have two completely opposite effects. On one hand, realizing that your immediate decision will affect the rest of your life can be downright overwhelming.   So it is a relief to know that this monumental decision is actually the first of many and that there will be time to reevaluate and correct your course. The sooner you realize this, the sooner you can begin the process of being a life-long, active participant in your own career development.

Take Responsible Action, Don’t Just React

The quality of your journey on career path depends on how much you engage in the career development process, and take action rather than simply react to circumstances. It requires making conscious choices and taking responsibility for the outcomes.  It requires being proactive throughout your lifework journey.

It is with our dedication to facilitating and promoting such proactive career development in the state of Illinois that we, the Board members of the Illinois Career Development Association (ICDA), last year (in celebration of National Career Development Month), created Five Steps of Proactive Career Development.  I’ll share them with you now as the first important steps toward your lifework path, and expand on them individually in future blogs.

ICDA’s Five Steps of Proactive Career Development
  1. Assess your interests, personality type, transferable skills and values.
  2. Gather and maintain current, accurate and comprehensive information about your chosen field.
  3. Develop and sustain a clear focus or mission for your life’s work and re-evaluate regularly.
  4. Network in person and via social media throughout your career.
  5. Be a life-long learner by engaging in professional development opportunities.

Watch the My College Planning Team site for my next blogs that will expand on these 5 steps.