Is an individual's metaphorical "journey" through learning

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The career is an individual's metaphorical "journey" through learning, work and other aspects of life. There are a number of ways to define career and the term is used in a variety of ways.


  • The Oxford English Dictionary defines the word "career" as a person's "course or progress through life ". This definition relates "career" to a range of aspects of an individual's life, learning, and work. "Career" is also frequently understood to relate to the working aspects of an individual's life - as in "career woman", for example.

  • A third way in which the term "career" is used describes an occupation or a profession that usually involves special training or formal education,to be a person's lifework. In this case "a career" is seen as a sequence of related jobs, usually pursued within a single industry or sector: one can speak for example of "a career in education", of "a criminal career" or of "a career in the building trade".

  • A career has been defined by organizational behavior researchers as "an individual's work-related and other relevant experiences, both inside and outside of organizations, that form a unique pattern over the individual's life span."

Historic changes in careers

  • By the late 20th century, a wide range of variations and more widespread education had allowed it to become possible to plan a career: In this respect the careers of the career counselor and of the career advisor have grown up. It is also not uncommon for adults in the late 20th/early 21st centuries to have dual or multiple careers, either sequentially or concurrently. Thus, professional identities have become hyphenated or hybridized to reflect this shift in work ethic. Economist Richard Florida notes this trend generally and more specifically among the "creative class".

Career management

  • Career management or career development describes the active and purposeful management of a career by an individual. Ideas of what comprise "career management skills" are described by the Blueprint model and the Seven C's of Digital Career Literacy.

  • Key skills include the ability to reflect on one's current career, research the labour market, determine whether education is necessary, find openings, and make career changes.

  • Step 1 – Think before you act

  • It’s not a coincidence that most people come to regard their first job as a mistake. Too often the focus is on applying for work – jobs that sound interesting, jobs that you might be qualified for, jobs that you think are the kinds of jobs you ought to be doing. People throw themselves into creating a CV and writing applications without properly thinking about their options.

  • One of the biggest worries people have upon leaving university is that they have little or no job experience. But for people who’ve been in the job market for a while the concern is exactly the opposite: that employers will only consider them for roles similar to what they’re doing now.

  • So take the opportunity your blank slate offers you – spend some time properly exploring your options during the one time of your life when no employer can pigeonhole you based on your previous work.

  • Step one, then, is to get into the right mind-set for successful job hunting.

  • Step 2 – Write the perfect master CV

  • A huge amount about jobseeking has changed in the past 20 years. CVs, though, aren’t one of them. They are the primary tool by which employers will shortlist candidates and the document that, along with the job spec, will be the heart of the interview process.

  • That means you need to work hard on yours, test it with people and tailor it to every job application. There is no perfect CV; only a perfect CV for a specific job.

  • If, after that, you worry that your CV looks a bit thin, read what to do if you have no work experience.

  • Lastly, once you have a master CV you feel good about, make sure you update your social media profile. An employer is highly likely to Google you, so don’t let any of your social media accounts cost you an interview.

  • Step 3 – Get comfortable writing covering letters

  • The job of a covering letter is to get an employer sufficiently interested in you that they want to read your CV and consider shortlisting you. It needs to be brief and direct, but it also needs to be tailored so it sells your suitability for the specific job for which you’re applying.

  • Step 4 – Plan, apply and monitor

  • Getting a job takes a sustained period of focused, organised activity.

  • Step 5 – Be ready for interviews

  • Sadly, there’s little to finding a job that’s fun and spontaneous. Preparation, preparation and more preparation is pretty much the only guarantee of success. For that reason, the time to start practicing interviews isn’t when you get one. It’s now.

  • Step 6 – Don’t jump at the first job you’re offered

  • For most entry-level positions, you need the job more than they need you. But that’s no reason to take a job that you don’t feel right about.

  • Yes, you need money. And, yes, you have to make a career start somewhere. But every job is an important decision and needs careful thought. So that’s it, your first steps towards a satisfying job.

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