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Managing your career - development advice

The world of work has changed significantly over recent years and few people secure a job for life. Instead you must manage your career and ensure you possess the relevant skills and knowledge to remain up-to-date in your chosen field and stay ahead in the employment market.

Chalk board with career related words Most job specifications outline the basic skills that a candidate must have in order to be considered for that role. These can be a combination of technical and soft skills. To progress in your career, you must ensure that you continue to build on the skills you already have as well as develop new ones. This can be done through training, professional development, mentoring or coaching.

Undertake a competence self-assessment

To know where you want to go, you must firstly, understand where you are now. You can do this by assessing your current skill set against a competence framework. Frameworks have been specially developed to indicate a generic standard of performance, to find out more on competence frameworks see our article on using competence frameworks for continued professional development. 

Competence can be defined as a combination of skills, attitude and behaviours that lead to an individual being able to perform a certain task to a given level.

By carrying out a self-assessment of competence you will be able to understand your current position. When you assess your levels of competence, you should provide yourself with a skill rating. You can use our online professional development system, Career Manager to help you do this.

Many companies have developed and implemented their own competence framework. Such frameworks provide employees with an indication of expected areas and levels of performance. If your company does not have a competence framework in place, there are many recognised frameworks, such as the Engineering Council UK's UK-SPEC framework.

If you decide to assess your levels of competence but do not wish to use a company or recognised framework, you can devise your own using competences from various frameworks.