Career Development can improve Employability
by Melanie Bothma

Career development is a lifelong process during which you develop new ideas about yourself and your career identity.  The 21st century world of work has rapid developments in technology and globalisation of the economy and job markets. There is constant outsourcing of work, downsizing of companies and customising of jobs. More people are in temporary and part-time employment and increasing numbers of people are becoming self- employed. As a result of these changes, an individual’s employability is critical to ensuring successful career-pathing.

In most occupations there is a trend towards change, unpredictability, innovation and creativity and a demand for people with interpersonal and intrapersonal skills.  You can no longer afford to have a static, ‘once- off choice’ view of career. Your employability will likely depend on you having to make a number of career decisions throughout your life. It is essential that you take personal responsibility for your own career development. If you learn how to guide your personal growth actively and manage your career development creatively, you are more likely to develop your employability and a rewarding career.

There is a constant need to invest in maintaining employability, engaging in life-long learning and enhancing one’s personal growth.

Below is a summary of tips for being a survivor in the 21st century world of work:

  • Be flexible, adaptable and willing to gain knowledge and learn new skills all the time.
  • Be prepared for lifelong learning – the ability to access information and develop knowledge and enhance new skills on an ongoing basis. It is essential that you are constantly on the lookout for possibilities to develop yourself and your skills.
  • Be prepared to perform tasks that may not be exactly what you want to be doing, but which could pave the way for future development.
  • Move around while you can. Gain fresh experiences, but not too much as this could tarnish your employability profile.
  • Find yourself a mentor; someone whom you can rely on to give you feedback, encourage you and help you to find career development opportunities.
  • Learn to work effectively in a team. Working with others can be challenging but it offers a fantastic opportunity to learn new things.

The difference between people who succeed and those that don't isn't desire, ability or luck. The difference is that accomplished people take the initiative to equip themselves with the knowledge and tools they need for successful career development.

Equipping yourself is not necessarily only through work-sponsored training. It’s the soft skills that develop a successful career – people management, effective communication, time management and problem solving to name a few. Equipping yourself means taking the initiative to improve your skills and take control of your career. And if you're willing to take this step, there's an incredible opportunity to achieve the success you've always dreamed of.

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