What is Career Management?

This section shows you what you need to think about before you start to job search. It gives you strategies on how to manage your career. 

What Is Career Management?

Career management is more than just what you do to find a job. It’s about how you approach your work and your life.

How do you manage your career? 

  • Do you learn to flow with the changes that occur at work and in life?
  • Do you commit to lifelong learning?
  • Every now and then, do you reevaluate your skills and interests? 
  • Do you have a “can do” attitude? 
  • Do you take charge of your career? 

If you answered “yes” to all of these questions you have qualities that will help you manage your career and find success in what you choose to do.

It sometimes seems like the terms "job," "occupation," and "career" mean the same thing. In fact, they have very different meanings. For this guide, we will be using them in the following way:

  • A job is a specific position or work for which you get paid. For example, Jennifer’s job is as a first grade teacher at Central Elementary School.
  • An occupation is a collection of job titles that share job duties, skills, and training. People who work in an occupation do similar tasks and need similar training. For example, Jennifer and every teacher in all the elementary schools share the same occupation: elementary school instructor.
  • A career is a lifelong journey that includes your education, interests, jobs, occupations, recreational activities, and volunteer work. Throughout your career you will gain many different skills, work in many different jobs representing many different occupations, and have changing interests including recreational activities.

Managing your career includes all of the steps in this guide. A person that manages their career effectively revisits all of the steps many times throughout their life.

Here’s an example of a career path.

  • Volunteer
    To get experience, Jennifer volunteered at her temple’s preschool. She found out that she really enjoyed teaching children.
  • Tutor
    Jennifer worked in an entry-level job as an after-care counselor helping elementary school children with their homework. She learned about lesson planning and managing conflict. She wanted to do more to move ahead in this career. Jennifer decided to attend a community college to earn an associate’s degree in education.
  • Teacher’s assistant
    After graduating from college, Jennifer became a teacher’s assistant in a public elementary school. While there, she decided that she really liked first graders.
  • First-grade teacher
    Jennifer went back to school for a bachelor's degree in education. She studied to earn a state teaching license. She now works as a first-grade teacher. Every year, she takes more classes to keep her knowledge and skills up to date.

Why should you manage your career?

The job market is not the same as it used to be. Today's economy is global; this means that local jobs and occupations are affected by the economy of other countries. This impacts what employers want from workers. Typically, people don’t get one job and stay in that job for their entire career.

The following list includes some of the certainties that you CAN expect from today’s job market:

  1. More jobs today call for a college degree or training beyond high school.
  2. In order to remain competitive, everyone (even those who are employed) needs to keep their job search skills up to date.
  3. Job seekers compete for jobs with people all over the world. Employers can move to another country. More workers can and are willing to live away from their work.
  4. People tend to change jobs every few years. This should not be viewed as negative as each career move may offer more skills and opportunities.
  5. Lay-offs are more common during a recession and/or when a business is in trouble financially.
  6. Workers need to see employers as customers who they may be of service to.
  7. Employees take their retirement plans with them when they change jobs.
  8. Employees are in charge of their own retirement plans.
  9. Workers have many jobs in many occupations throughout their lifetime.
  10. Workers need to create their own career paths.
  11. Job duties often change to match projects.
  12. Employers want workers who think for themselves, are flexible, self-motivated, and participate in continuous learning.
  13. More jobs are in the service or knowledge industries. Workers need to be creative. They need to provide good customer service and possess technical skills.
  14. Employees need to be open to working full-time or part-time. They might be short-term or contract workers.
  15. Employees may work for more than one company at once.
  16. Employees need to work hard and take charge of their own career goals. They can not only get paid, but can receive additional training from many employers.
  17. A successful job search is more dependent on using your network of personal contacts to find hidden jobs.
  18. During a recession, be prepared to accept a job that offers less pay and/or limited opportunities for growth and advancement by adjusting your expectations.


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