Career development is achieved by building skills in the short term while career growth is the big picture, the overall progress of someone’s professional life — it’s defined by the different roles and responsibilities you take on throughout your career journey.
Commitment to career development can steer the course of your career growth. Instead of randomly choosing which skills to build upon, Hendrickson had a vision of where he wanted his career to take him, and pushed himself to get there.
Planning around your career development is essential for reaching your goals, but career growth is more than just the sum of your workplace accomplishments and hard skills. “Combine your tech and business skills with your human skills — intangible qualities, like tenacity, self-motivation, good listening skills, persuasiveness, sense of humor, and the ability to connect with people,” Hendrickson said. “That is a winning formula for anyone wanting career growth.”
The phrases career development and career growth are often used interchangeably, but they’re actually different. Think of it like this: You need to develop your career in order to grow. The phrase “career development” refers to the tangible steps you take to enhance your workplace skill set and become better equipped to handle your current and future roles.
Career development is achieved by building skills in the short term. Learning a hard skill like programming, or a soft skill like effective listening, could all be a part of your career development plan.
If career development describes the short term, career growth refers to the big picture, the overall progress of someone’s professional life — it’s defined by the different roles and responsibilities you take on throughout your career journey. While it’s easier to manage your career development, growth is a little trickier because it can be affected by your environment and available opportunities.
At the same time, this gives you the chance to define your career growth on your own terms. There’s nothing wrong with working to become a CEO, but it’s important to remember that growth isn’t always vertical. Consider your career values and how your work aligns with them, and you’ll be able to make a career growth plan that fulfills you personally and professionally.