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Career Management

“Successful careers develop… when people are prepared for opportunities.”
~ Harvard Business Review ~ 

Career Management Process

Career Management is a life-long process of investing resources to accomplish your future career goals. It is a continuing process that allows you to adapt to the changing demands of our dynamic economy.  The career management process embraces various concepts:  Self-awareness, career development planning/career exploration, life-long learning, and networking.


Look at yourself to discover your interests, skills, personality traits, and values. You can start by asking yourself the following questions: 

  • Who are you?
  • What interests you?
  • What do you like to do?
  • What are you good at doing?
  • What do you value, what's important to you?
  • What are your special assets, skills, and abilities?
  • Who needs the talents, skills, and abilities you can provide?
  • What work environment and/or arrangements make sense for you?
  • What activities do I find fun, motivating, interesting, and enjoyable?
  • What skills do you need to acquire to develop and manage your career?
  • What personal style or characteristics do I have that are important to me in the work place?

Also ask friends, family members, co-workers, professors, or mentors if they see the same qualities in you as you see in yourself.

Career Development Planning/Career Exploration

Career Development Planning is a process designed to help you to:

  • Take the time to think about your job/career goals
  • Focus on developing knowledge and skills for your current position and for future job opportunities
  • Think about how you can utilize efficiently your strengths, talents, experience, and motivation – how can you use all of these aspects to increase your passion for work!
  • Be the architect of your own career development plan – write your goals, make a decision to have a plan for your career development
  • Discuss your career development goals with your manager

Once you have made a career decision, you need to plan how you will carry out that decision. A career plan provides vision, structure, direction, and motivation for your career management process.

What do you think of Career Development Planning?

Usually, when we think of career management, we think of the goals or action items that we feel we need to do to move our careers forward. Often, we carry these thoughts around in our heads for long periods of time without ever writing them down. If we do write down our goals, they often take the form of a list and many times we lose motivation after writing our goals down, misplace the list, and attain only some of our goals. That is why this method of thinking and just writing your career goals is not a very motivating or reinforcing process!

It is far more effective, motivating, and productive to think of career planning as a process that allows us to envision our future careers and then provides us a path to follow in attaining our goals and realizing our dreams. Career planning is definitely not something that happens once or twice in one’s career. By the contrary, it is a recurring process of taking the time to assess one’s identity, setting new goals, creating new career horizons, and celebrating successes as one develops and becomes more knowledgeable and skilled.

You can use the Individual Career Development Plan template to start your planning process.

Life-long Learning

Are you surprised to know how much of the daily work is now based around technology? Computers, smart phones, tablets and other technological devices have drastically affected the way in which we conduct work. The consequences of these advancements and innovations will quickly reflect through the economy, affecting many industries and catapulting others into the limelight. It is clearly up to you to be able to adapt to these ongoing innovations which will be directly related to how current you keep your knowledge and skills. You need to consider how to vary your learning investments in time, energy and resources. Examples may include: credentialed coursework, certificate programs (related to your career/interest), joining cutting edge projects/committees/task forces, attending conferences, or simply staying current in professional reading.


As we have moved to an information, service and technological-oriented economy, our networking relationships have become essential assets. These relationships will be the source of information about how emerging fields and industries are evolving. In addition, personal and professional relationships will transcend specific companies, communities, and industries. Our ability to interact, respond and connect in our relationships will directly impact our present performance and future career opportunities.

Remember that keeping connected and knowing how to build good relationships are more important than ever before. These skills can be developed in applied communication courses, contact management software, effective listening and your authentic desire to know more people. 


Career Development Philosophy

The University of California, Merced encourages employees to develop in ways that link to the strategic objectives of the campus. Career Development is a partnership between the employee, the supervisor or manager, and the University.

  • Employees – are responsible for proactively managing their careers, increasing their skills, experience, and maintaining a high level of performance.
  • Supervisors/Managers – are responsible for actively encouraging and supporting staff in their career planning, using available resources, tools, and processes to help employees find the best match between their abilities and the needs of the organization.
  • The University – is responsible for creating and providing opportunities for growth based on performance excellence, talent, and potential, and for encouraging mobility between job families and departments.