Career development is a lifelong process that is unique for every individual. There are many influences that contribute to your career such as:
Who you are as an individual
This includes your self-concept, interests, skills, knowledge, personality, ethnicity, age, gender, ability, disability, health, beliefs and sexual orientation. For example, your choice of hobbies reflects your interests and abilities.
The community plays an important role in forming your identity, beliefs and attitudes. Members of your community can be your family, peers, friends or colleagues from your school or workplace, employers, the media, community groups and clubs. They can influence the lifestyle you want to aspire towards, the work you choose, the life roles you take on and what you value about yourself.
The environment and wider society
This refers to the opportunities or constraints caused by factors such as the region or location you live in (ie rural or metropolitan), what is happening in the employment market (eg are there job vacancies in your career field), your socioeconomic status (eg do you have to consider financial commitments such as mortgages or children's education), historical trends (eg changes in women's participation in the workforce) and political decisions (eg government grants available for enterprise development).
Random and unpredictable events may also impact on your career. Different sets of influences will be dominant at different stages in your life as you grow and develop as a person.
For example, in childhood, ideas about life roles and work are expressed in play and are based on the adults with whom you identify strongly.
In adolescence, career exploration is based on identifying interests, abilities, capacities and values; learning about the world of work through observing adults at work; participating in the workforce; and accessing career resources and programs.
As an adult, your career development becomes more intricate. If you are a mature age Australian reassessing your career options Career Guide for Mature Australians [PDF 925KB] can also help you on your career development path. It can help with the choices you've made regarding lifestyle, the life roles you take on, learning pathways, changing career direction, employment/unemployment, enterprise opportunities, and many other personal life events.