What is career development and why it’s important for freelancers
Finding your true vocation may be something you discovered when you were 5 years old. Maybe you’re 30 while reading this but still not have a clue what this might be and you’re just freelancing to get by until the moment of ultimate inspiration comes. But then, who said it will ever come? Not all of us dream to be great but I believe we all want to have a career in something we don’t hate; if we happen to love it, our win!
The fact is that everyone needs an occupation that matches their personality and education, nurtures their aspirations, and helps them make a decent living. This is why we get career orientation classes at school, to help us find out our aptitudes and strong points and use them to support ourselves through life!
But this is a lifelong process that shouldn’t stop as soon as we move on to the professional arena. Our abilities can be improved, we can always learn new skills and this will help us further evolve as professionals and human beings.
This exactly is the purpose of career development and this blog post’s main subject. We are going to discuss what it is, why it’s important, and in what ways it can improve your career as a freelancer!
What is career development?
In simple terms, it’s essentially the process that shapes a person’s professional identity throughout the years. Career development is an ongoing process, just like personal development; if you neglect it, it neglects you too. Furthermore, its quality will determine the individual’s social and economic contributions as it also shapes the person’s sense of purpose.
Therefore, it is important to always search for something new to learn, enhance your capabilities, and keep yourself up to date as a freelancer if you want your life to be as fulfilling as possible.
Of course, reading about it doesn’t get you the results you need! Before deciding what you’re most inclined in doing for the rest of your life you need to examine some facts to know where you’ll be getting into. Good-quality information is essential for good-quality career development as a freelancer. First, you need to know the required skills and education and then how their aspects translate into occupations. Early on in your life, you’ll have to make a decision based on this information regarding education and training to be able to follow learning pathways that lead to satisfying occupational destinations.
Moreover, you need to examine the market in terms of supply and demand in the profession you’re interested in. Mix all that together, according to your personal traits and preferences and you’ll most probably harness career development’s benefits to the max.
Know your strengths and weaknesses
All the above is impossible if you don’t know who you are. In which things you’re good at and which need improvement on your behalf. For example, if you’re into freelance writing you need to possess developed writing skills. If you can’t even write down a note to someone that makes sense, maybe writing isn’t right for you (just a wild guess here!).
Make a list of your strong and weak points and see which ones you can utilize to thrive in the career of your choosing. On the other hand, your weaknesses can help you rule out professions that aren’t suitable for a variety of reasons.
Factor into that assessment your way of living and how it can contribute or impede your career development. For instance, if you’re a night owl you should consider choosing a career path that has flexible busy hours and so on!
Ask a career development advisor to help you
Sometimes, to get things right, we need the help of an expert! This is definitely a time when a counselor can be of tremendous use to you. We, as a species, tend to lack objectivity when it comes to spotting our strengths and flaws. This might stem from low self-esteem, too much confidence, and general bad experiences. However, an expert’s evaluation could greatly boost your confidence and steer you in the right direction.
Career development advisors are specialized in finding your personal aptitudes and point out to you possible pathways.
In addition, they can counsel you and help you make the right decision when it comes to pivotal moments in your career as a freelancer. Lastly, an advisor may suggest learning opportunities and markets, so you can lead a successful freelance career and offer quality work.
Write down your career goals
However, no one knows how to build a freelancer career for you better than yourself. You are the one setting the bar, know who you are, and of what you’re really capable of. Alternatively, you can call this your career development plan.
Set a time-frame for your goals, like “Next quarter I will make $10,000 so I can save 10% for my insurance bill that is coming up”. Or, “By the end of the year, I will finish the draft of my first novel” if you’re a freelance writer.
This simple documentation of what you want to accomplish actually brings you closer to where you want to be. Moreover, you can also write down the not-so-glorious moments of your journey and explore all the reasons why you made mistakes or things didn’t go as planned. Τhis way, you can avoid falling in the same traps in the future and further develop your freelance career.
Why is career development important?
As one can easily imagine, a freelancer greatly depends on this process. The most important benefits one can gain by following a career development plan are:
- It will help you avoid getting stuck in a rut: Not having a career development plan in place is a slippery slope. It allows you to slack when you don’t feel like working and doesn’t create this positive drive to achieve more. Instead, knowing what you’re aiming for will push you enough to actually follow through. It’s a constant reminder of your goals!
- You will gain responsibility for your weaknesses: Your plan should include ways to improve yourself in areas where you lack education and experience. Skills development is an essential part of this process and not trying to improve yourself can lead to failure or a sense of unfulfillment.
- It will give you a sense of purpose: One can never be satisfied with themselves and their career if what they do doesn’t bring them joy and meaning. Amounts rapidly accumulating in a bank account mean nothing unless the thing that takes up more of your energy and time lacks true purpose. Career development is the ever-evolving process of readjusting your goals to make a difference!
- It will make you in charge of your career path: Instead of blaming external factors for every negative turn, one can take full responsibility for them. If you need to acquire more clients it’s in your hands to do so, by let’s say, mastering a new tool that enables you to do your work faster and more efficiently.
- It will boost your self-confidence: Knowing your strengths and weaknesses means that at some point, you’ll be able to set more meaningful and realistic goals. By acquiring more goals you get even more motivated and the happy cycle goes on!
Career development is the ace up your sleeve!
Career development is not an easy process but nonetheless, it’s an essential one. Skill development, frequent training, and learning opportunities will take your freelancing career one step further. If you have trouble identifying your strong and weak points you can always consult a career development advisor! They will help you get the most out of what you have and point out your next possible steps.
Do you have any career development advice that helped you thrive as a freelancer? Leave a comment below!