Career Planning and Development

Career planning is the process of evaluating and choosing the job that best suits your personality, skills, and interests. Career development is the ongoing learning and goal-refining that follow as you continue to grow. Together, career planning and development tools help you harness a strong understanding of yourself and your goals so you can find work that is meaningful, fulfilling, and enjoyable.

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.” – Steve Jobs

We all want to make the most of our lives and achieve success in our careers. To do this, we need to be aware of the types of jobs that will suit us as individuals, plan ahead, and make active decisions about the future. This, in a nutshell, is career planning and development. It's a process that helps you figure out what you want to do, how you want to do it, and the steps you need to take to get there.

Understanding your personality is a great way to begin this process. By understanding how you think, feel and act in different work situations, you can uncover the career paths and job roles where you have the greatest potential to thrive and excel.

If you are looking for guidance as you choose and move along a career path, here are some important insights to bear in mind.

What is career planning and development?

We often talk about career planning and development as if it were one thing, but there are two distinct parts: 

Career planning

Career planning is the process of choosing what you want to do with your work life and how you will accomplish that goal. It involves a comprehensive assessment of your abilities to determine which professional route is most suited to your strengths, interests, motivations and values, and then assessing what the opportunities are within that career or industry. 

Career planning is not just a one-and-done activity to guide your initial job search. Rather, it’s a process you can revisit whenever you, or the world around you, change and you need to reorient yourself around a different role that makes you happy.

Career development

Career development is the process of constant learning, gaining experience, and refining goals as you move along your chosen career path. Development can be as simple as learning a new skill or as complex as taking on a new role in your field. 

For some, career development is synonymous with climbing the career ladder. For others, it involves sideways steps or building a portfolio career that’s made up of multiple passions and income streams. Whatever the case, career development requires you to make ongoing changes to consistently build on yourself as you become a better, more well-rounded employee.

How does personality play a role in career planning and development?

To effectively plan for and develop our careers, we must first understand ourselves—our personalities, motivations, work styles, strengths and weaknesses. A strong self-understanding can help you identify what career options are the most suitable for your interests and abilities. When you find a career that works with and not against your personality, you are more likely to enjoy what you do, be good at it, and stick with it in the long term.

Sadly, few people can put their hands on their hearts and say they love their jobs. Recent data tells us that “living for the weekend” is a very real phenomenon, and that job satisfaction is in short supply. Only one in five employees (21%) say they are actively engaged at work according to Gallup's State of the Global Workplace 2022 report, and only 33% say they are thriving in their overall work-related well-being. Almost half (44%) say they experience a lot of stress in their workday.

These numbers suggest that many workers do not find their work meaningful or do not think their careers are going as well as they could. Career planning and development could be highly beneficial to these individuals, leading to a career that gives them increased satisfaction, enjoyment and reward.

What factors determine job satisfaction?

Job satisfaction is determined by a variety of factors. Some are outside of your control, such as the salary and benefits a company offers. Others are more within your control, such as the type of work you do, how much autonomy you have and opportunities for growth and development.

Job satisfaction also depends on how well your job aligns with your personality. Here are some factors to consider when assessing whether a job might be a good fit for you:


Your interests include your hobbies and the types of things you enjoy doing in your free time. They are very personal so, even if a job looks great on paper, it's important to ask yourself, “Will I (and not anyone else) like doing this job? Will I still enjoy these work-related tasks after doing them every day for several months or years?" 

Obviously, you will feel happier going to work each day if you're actively interested in what you do. You're also likely to perform better since matching your job to things you enjoy helps you stay motivated, even after years in the same field.


You may have the skills, knowledge and experience to excel in a job but, if you're not motivated to do it, you're unlikely to achieve all that you can in your career. Think about the career goals that motivate you: is it money, recognition, relationships, solving problems, making a difference, or something else? A big part of figuring out what career you will enjoy is about understanding what motivates you to show up each day, so this is an important factor to consider.


Values are a guiding principle in life and they can also help guide your career decisions. If there is a disconnect between your ethical beliefs and the company's, then it may be difficult to find satisfaction in the job. By contrast, when a role matches our personal values, we tend to perform better, are much more committed and less likely to go looking for a new job. 

Values are hard to compromise on, but bear in mind that they can change over the years. For example, security may be the most important thing if you have a young family to support while later in life, creativity and helping others may be more important. So be sure to reexamine your values every few years.

Skills and aptitude

Every job requires a certain set of skills and aptitudes, and your career search will be much easier if your skills match the requirements of the role. For example, you may struggle to stick with an accounting job if you have no attention to detail and hate math! Soft skills are just as important as technical skills and an overwhelming majority of employers want to see soft skills listed on your resume. Skills in greatest demand include communication, time management, organization, analytical thinking, flexibility, collaboration, problem-solving and interpersonal skills.

Practical factors

The pay rate, benefits package and employment outlook – how many jobs are available in that particular field – are also important considerations when it comes to career planning and development. Even if you're doing what you love, you have to pay your rent and bills. For most people, the very first step in their career planning exercise will be weighing their financial needs against jobs that might fulfill their passions in different industries. This may involve some trade-offs, but it's better to make an informed decision than to take a job that will never meet your practical needs.

Work environment

The work environment is often overlooked when evaluating job satisfaction. Yet your physical surroundings, and the relationships within them, can impact your productivity, motivation and even your overall health. A person who can only concentrate when there are no distractions would do well to avoid a noisy, open-plan workspace, for example.

Many things make up a cohesive work environment including the hours, schedule, physical workspace, company culture, management style, team structures and overall atmosphere. Placing yourself in a work environment that meshes well with your preferences makes work more enjoyable and helps you feel more connected to the job.

How career testing can help with career planning and development

Career testing is a special type of personality test. It provides insight into your abilities, interests, motivations, values and preferences through the lens of the workplace, so you can make better-informed decisions about education, internships and careers, and go about your job search in a more targeted way. 

Career tests come in many shapes and sizes. They range from simple inventories, which measure how your interests correspond to those of people already employed in various positions, to comprehensive personality tests which measure aptitude, strengths, weaknesses, communication style, emotional makeup and much more, before matching your results to relevant careers.

Whichever career aptitude test you choose, using the results as a starting point for your career planning and development can help you understand yourself better. This self-awareness can guide you to make more informed decisions for a long-term, satisfying career, rather than just relying on guesswork.

Jayne Thompson
Jayne is a B2B tech copywriter and the editorial director here at Truity. When she’s not writing to a deadline, she’s geeking out about personality psychology and conspiracy theories. Jayne is a true ambivert, barely an INTJ, and an Enneagram One. She lives with her husband and daughters in the UK. Find Jayne at White Rose Copywriting.