Are You A Career Development Professional (CDP)?

Are You A Career Development Professional (CDP)?


Most of our work here at the CEC is focused on Career Development Professionals, or CDPs. But, what is a CDP? Below is the Canadian Council for Career Development (CCCD) definition:

“Career Development Professionals help individuals navigate learning and work transitions across the lifespan.  
Career Development Professionals enable individuals to manage learning and work, acquire and enhance skills, seek/create employment, and access community services that support personal and professional growth in an increasingly complex, interdependent and changing world. 
Career Development Professionals collaborate with employers, education, and training providers, community-based service organizations, and other private and public institutions to promote positive health, social and economic outcomes for individuals, institutions and communities” 

Many people would look at this definition and call it broad. And they’re right! Being a CDP does not mean fitting a highly specific set of criteria; it means helping people through all the different transitions on their career development journeys. 

The Six Steps of Career Development

It often helps people to understand the role of CDPs when we contextualize what CDPs help people with. As mentioned above, CDPs help people with their career development journeys, which often have 6 “steps” (note that these may not be linear): 

  1. Job Readiness

    CDPs that help with job readiness help clients with developing their “RMD” skills: reliability, motivation, and dependability. This is often done through one-on-one counselling or in group settings. Examples of these CDPs include career counsellors and social workers.  


  1. Career Decision-Making

    CDPs who help clients make career decisions often do so through providing resources about different career options, outlining different education paths, etc. Examples of these CDPs include school guidance counsellors and academic advisors.
  1. Skills Enhancement

    CDPs that work with clients on skill enhancement generally focus not only on teaching clients work-related skills, but also on helping clients to know what kinds of skills will be best for their career journey. Examples of these CDPs include adult basic education instructors and trade school educators.  
  1. Work Search

    CDPs assisting clients in their work search often help with things like resume construction, finding labour market information (LMI), and facilitating career experiments (eg. internships, job shadowing, etc). Examples of these CDPs include librarians and co-op coordinators. 
  1. Job Maintenance

    CDPs that assist clients with job maintenance help to eliminate barriers that may impact a client’s ability to remain in their job, as well as encouraging clients to learn and use new skills. Examples of these CDPs include human resources workers, community centre workers, and occupational therapists.   
  1. Career Growth

    CDPs who help clients in the career growth step of their journey often focus on goal setting and challenging their clients. Examples of these CDPs include life coaches and managers. 

If you feel that any of these descriptions fit your work, congratulations you are a CDP!


If you’d like to get involved with the upcoming CDP consultations about the new CDP Competency Framework and have your voice heard, contact Elayne at and see our most recent article for more details.

  • October 4, 2019