Career Awareness: Definition, Advantages, Tips

A successful career does not happen by chance, but is the result of targeted decisions and planning. What the path in one's own career might look like – but few give it serious thought. Career awareness draws attention to exactly these important questions, possible obstacles, but also opportunities and important nodes in one's career. With the necessary career awareness comes some benefits, but you must first invest time and effort to strengthen your career awareness. Unfortunately, this is exactly what is done far too seldom. We explain what career awareness means, the good reasons you should work on it, and tips you can use to increase your career awareness…

Definition: what is career awareness?

Career awareness can be translated in german as awareness of one's own career. The focus of this concept is on awareness of one's own career path, which often receives far too little attention. Most employees more or less let their careers come to them without ever having given any real thought to their careers.

Of course a job is chosen and an employer is selected, but in the long run the necessary knowledge, suitable goals and appropriate planning are lacking. Career awareness means being aware of what your career currently looks like – and will look like in the future.

Thus, career awareness means that you need to ask yourself several important questions at once and answer them honestly:

  • What goals can and do I want to achieve in my career??
  • What opportunities or difficulties might I encounter?
  • How can I manage my development?
  • What skills should I work on because they are or will become particularly important?
  • Am I currently on the way to my goal??

A distinctive career awareness shows itself for example in the fact that you know with which experiences and competences the jump into the next higher hierarchy level is possible. And also to know how exactly you envision your individual career goal. Do you want to be in senior management at all?? Aim for a specialist career? Career awareness combines awareness of opportunities with the necessary reflection on your own expectations.

At the same time, career awareness is not limited to just one employer. You should think bigger and develop career awareness for your entire profession. Being aware of your own career therefore also means being aware of various positions for which you are qualified or towards which you can work.

Benefits: this is why you need career awareness

If you think that career awareness is just a buzzword from the USA and that the effort involved is not worthwhile, you are wrong on two counts. On the one hand, it doesn't take that much effort – more on that later in the article – but on the other hand, career awareness comes with great benefits that can benefit you in the long run.

You can shape your career in a targeted way

In your own career, you should not be a passive bystander, but actively plan and shape it. Career awareness enables you to do exactly that. You know possible career paths, different positions, required qualifications – and most importantly, you know what you want yourself. Together you use the knowledge of career awareness to create exactly the career you want to have.

You know what is coming

Challenges are a problem only when they come suddenly and unexpectedly. Thanks to comprehensive career awareness, you can recognize obstacles and stumbling blocks on your path well in advance. Know when your career might stall, what hurdles you will have to overcome, and how you can overcome those difficulties.

You are more successful

As a general rule, career awareness makes you more successful. Success is (usually) not a product of chance, but results from adapting your skills to the requirements needed to achieve a goal. This makes career awareness a great success factor and a clear advantage over the competition, which lacks this awareness for the career.

Tips: build and leverage career awareness

With the benefits, the crucial question now is: how can you build and develop career awareness? At first, this sounds like a huge undertaking for which you would have to plan a great deal of time and effort. Of course, career awareness doesn't just happen on its own, but the good news is that it doesn't require a lot of effort. What you do need to do is to deal with the topic of career awareness on a regular basis.

It's not enough to think about it once, career awareness is an ongoing process that is always evolving – and in which you too adapt, make changes and respond to new insights.

In conclusion, we have therefore put together a few tips to help you develop career awareness, build it up over the long term and also use it:

Inform yourself extensively

The first step to more career awareness is extensive research and information about the job and also the industry. Which tasks are particularly important? What responsibilities are at the forefront of your mind? What expectations are placed on you? Which skills are particularly in demand? What trends and developments your employer is going through and what is happening in your industry right now? You can only develop career awareness through a deep knowledge of your work. It is also important to look into the future. Think about what difficulties you or your entire profession may face. Can new technologies, for example, fundamentally change the way you work?? What does this mean to you and how can you deal with it?

Know your goals

Career awareness also involves looking at your own goals and aspirations. Specifically, the question here is: how do you envision your career? Develop as clear an idea as possible of how you want to shape your career and where it should lead you. A simple I want to be successful is not enough here. Go into detail about your goals and set your sights on a specific position.

Develop yourself

The combination of extensive knowledge about the job and your personal goals will show you what it takes to achieve the exact career you want to pursue. Now you can look at the skills, qualifications or experience that are needed to achieve it. For the management position you are aiming for, for example, you need several years of professional experience, initial success with responsibility in smaller projects, good communication skills and assertiveness – through your career awareness you have a roadmap to follow.

Reflect regularly

As mentioned before career awareness is a process that accompanies you. Regular self-reflection is crucial for success. Analyze the status quo and ask yourself: is my career currently heading in the right direction?? It's easy to lose sight of goals or be pushed down a different path in your day-to-day professional life. Regular reflection serves as a checkpoint to see if you have strayed from your intended path. If this is the case, you can refocus on the destination. However, it may be that your goals have changed. Priorities and wishes do not have to remain constant over the years. Therefore, regularly question whether your ideas of the career are still identical. If not, start by setting a new goal for yourself.

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