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Developing Your Career Capital
November 4, 2019
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By Tonya Holowitski, RPR, RPT, CMP, CRS, CCS, CISA Career Innovator & Designer for Alberta CPAs (Chartered Professional Accountants) and CPA Students

Tonya Holowitski, RPR, RPT, CMP, CRS, CCS, CIS
Tonya Holowitski

I recently had the opportunity to deliver two workshops on how to build your Career Capital using LinkedIn. They were both great sessions and I learned a lot both developing the content and delivering the content.

Career Capital is the value of competencies, knowledge and individual personality attributes you have to produce economic value. Career Capital is vitally important for an individual’s success in all stages of work and life. Career Capital can increase through education, experience and your ability to identify and convert into an opportunity. In the digital age, building your career capital requires a conscious effort to strategically evolve to act and influence as a valuable and respected resource.

Career Capital was a concept developed in 1994 by Organizational Psychologists DeFillipi and Athurs for organizations. As time has progressed it has been shaped and moulded in a manner that is meant to reflect the individual more so than an organization’s team development and succession planning. As time goes on the career landscape is changing and we are beginning to hear more about a “Gig Economy” and becoming a “Careerpreneur”. Other terms you may come across that apply to the Gig Economy are a Free Floating Professional, a Temporary Employee, a Contractor, Self-Employed,

A “gig economy is a free market system in which temporary positions are common and organizations contract with independent workers for short-term engagements. The term “gig” is a slang word meaning “a job for a specified period of time” and is typically used in referring to musicians.

“Careerpreneur” is a term we use a lot in the Career Development world, particularly by my education body Career Professionals Canada. It means becoming an independent agent working towards our career success. Scripting our path versus waiting for someone to write it out for us. Keeping an eye out for emerging and growing opportunities. Proactively taking advantage of our career development initiatives.

Cal Newport the author of Seven Ways Successful People Approach Their Work and So Good They Can’t Ignore You has a phrase that resonates quite well and shifts us from the common perspective of pursuing your passion. He states “Adopt the craftsman mindset, not the passion mindset” His perspective is to look at work not from “What can the world offer me?” but ask “What can I offer the world?”. So it’s a little bit of the notion of Symbolic Capital (reputation/ prestige in a field). The Career Capital piece would be to then take key elements of your Symbolic Capital and being able to apply them in a different career capacity – could be role, client, or even organisation.

Career Capital is broken down into three fundamental concepts:

  1. Knowing Why: This is where you are examining internal and external factors that are driving your career or need for change. It could be related to changes in the market place, technology, demand, layoffs, boredom, corporate values and others.
  2. Knowing Whom: This is your network developed through work, volunteerism, your personal life whom all can help you move forward in your career or a transition. This consists of Mentors, Sponsors, Peers, Supervisors, Friends, Family, Community Connections, Virtual Connections (LinkedIn), Experts and Networking Connections. AKA Social Capital.
  3. Knowing How: This is what you have learned to do on the job, in your studies, from volunteerism, hobbies and other learning activities.

To become effective in developing your Career Capital, you need to explore your relationship with perceived internal and external marketability. It means being able to adapt, to continue to keep up to date on future job perspectives, knowledge and skills and asking others how they perceive you. Gone are the days where you get one degree and that is it, no further professional development required. Technology, economic market volatility, social trends, climate change, political change and other requires each of us to be prepared for rapid change in requirements in the workplace.

It also means saving your money for the future. There may be times you find yourself unemployed but there also may be times where if you haven’t been continually investing in skills development that you find yourself reinventing yourself which may mean a temporary pay decrease. However, if you are continually investing in your career capital you should be seeing an increase in your economic capital.

So what are the key elements and attitudes you want to focus on to increase your Career Capital? Consider the following:

  1. Develop Movement Capital (encompasses the individual skills, knowledge, competencies, and attitudes influencing an individual’s career mobility opportunities, which in turn influences their likelihood of career success – Forrier Sels & Stynen, 2009).
  2. Adaptability (Allows people to evolve and enables and motivates them to adapt their human capital, social capital and career identity to new circumstances – Forrier et al., 2009)
  3. Networking: Events, virtual, within an organisation, in your community, with your friends and family.
  4. Continuous Learning: On the job, through classes formal and informal, from a mentor and your peers.
  5. Market Research and Market Awareness: Continually pay attention to the news. Everythings applies – Global Trade & Politics, National Trade, Economy and Politics, Stock Markets, Science, Innovation and Technology, Mergers and Acquisitions, Provincial Policy changes, Municipal affairs, Climate events (fires, hurricanes, tornados anything that can cause a city to stop) and more.
  6. Attitude: Self-motivation, determination, perseverance, flexibility, emotional intelligence, industry acumen, patience, commit to change, and have a willingness to learn.
  7. Reputation: Be known for follow-through and your ability to deliver, take a chance and write a blog, be a guest speaker, train others, become a mentor, become a subject matter expert, think credibility.
  8. Multi-Disciplinary Exposure: Develop breadth and depth of expanding your competencies.
  9. Multi-Industry Exposure
  10. Build your Brand

So there you have it Career Capital, it’s a thing. BTW did you ever guess there could be so many different forms of Capital in your life?

About the Author: Tonya Holowitski is a professional Career Advisor and previously was a Recruiter both in-house and external search. She holds a number of certifications and designations through the Career Professionals of Canada and the Institute of Professional Management.

Book Review: What Color Is Your Parachute? A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers
September 16, 2019
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With more than 10 million copies sold in 28 countries, the world’s most popular job-search book is updated for 2019, tailoring Richard Bolles’s long-trusted guidance with up-to-the-minute information and advice for today’s job-hunters and career-changers.

In today’s complex job-market, the time-tested advice of What Color Is Your Parachute? is needed more than ever.

Recent grads facing a changing economic landscape, workers laid off mid-career, and people searching for an inspiring work-life change all look to career guru Richard N. Bolles for support, encouragement, and advice on which job-hunt strategies workand which don’t.

This revised edition combines classic elements like the famed Flower Exercise with updated tips on social media and search tactics.

Bolles demystifies the entire job-search process, from writing resumes to interviewing to networking, expertly guiding job-hunters toward their dream job.

The book walks you through every step of the process, from designing your resume to networking and figuring out which careers make sense for your personality style.

Book Review: The Compass and The Radar
August 23, 2019
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The Art of Building a Rewarding Career While Remaining True to Yourself by Paolo Gallo

The Compass and The Radar is an engaging book which gives readers practical advice on how to build their career successfully. Unlike other books, though, it also prompts us to consider the price we are prepared to pay to be successful.

The Compass and the Radar

Written by Paolo Gallo, much of the content is drawn on the author’s experience in Human Resources. During his career, Gallo was CRO at the World Economic Forum in Geneva, the Chief Learning Officer at the World Bank in Washington DC and the HRD at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in London – so he has a lot of experience to draw upon. Much of what he shares is from observing interviews, promotion boards, coaching individuals and other experiences many of the readers of HR Director will be familiar with.

At the start of the book, Gallo prompts readers to stop and reflect on what is important to them in their career – something that many people don’t do often enough. He reminds us to think creatively, to fight for what we want and to weigh up options from different perspectives in order to think more deeply about this topic. There is a useful coaching exercise readers can go through which prompts them to stop and reflect on questions such as “what am I passionate about?” or “what gives me joy and energy?” as well as “what do I believe in?”

Once the reader has establishes what is important for them in their careers, Gallo then walks us through different stages of the employee lifecycle. Using the analogy of arriving at a village that is right for us, he gives advice on how to successfully get a job and covers things like having a professional LinkedIn profile and building your network to help secure a post. He reminds readers that it is important to do your research when applying for roles and that interviews are a two way process where both parties are assessing if they want to contract.

Once you have secured a new role or “entered the village” Gallo then covers topics such as the importance of listening and asking questions and of building trust with your new colleagues and being savvy about reading the organisation. He reminds us that the official structure of the organisation is often not the real structure – it is important to take time to work out where the power and influence really lie.  He also stresses that hard work alone will not make us successful – it is also crucial to have a positive relationship with your boss and to be clear on what is expected of you, as well as taking time to understand the culture of the organisation. “Only those who really understand the culture of an organisation have a serious opportunity for growth and development within it” he writes, before sharing anecdotes of individuals who were technically strong but who failed to succeed because they misread their surroundings. Many of the stories will resonate with HR professionals who will have witnessed similar successes and failures in their own organisations.

 He also stresses the importance of not just what you do but how you do it. Reflecting on his experience of facilitating hundreds of management sessions to consider promotions, he writes “in any organisation it is not just what we do – the results – but above all how we do it, our behaviour, our ability to adapt to the rules of the game.”

The author also covers the importance of being able to judge when it is time to leave an organisation and how crucial it is to do so with grace, respect and good manners, such that your reputation and credibility remain intact. To make the point, Gallo contrasts this with the well known case of Greg Smith who resigned from his company by writing a letter to the New York Times entitled “Why I left Goldman Sachs.”

As well as guiding the readers through key career decision points, Gallo challenges us to think about the price people pay for a successful career – in terms of stress, depression, illness and divorce, for example. By way of illustration, he shares the story of Eugene O’Kelly who was the CEO of the consulting firm KPMG. O’Kelly chose to write a book about his life the day that the doctor diagnosed him with a terminal brain tumour. Gallo writes of the book “ In every line of this extraordinary story there is a feeling of pride for a career that is nothing short of splendid, but also the sense of lost time, unspoken words, kisses not given, skipped dinners, forgotten children…”

Importantly he also reminds us how fleeting power can be and uses his first hand experience of working at the well known Davos annual meeting organised by the World Economic Forum in Switzerland every year. During the event the international elite meet – presidents, ministers, CEOs of the world’s top companies, Nobel Prize winners, academics, and religious leaders. Having worked at Davos for four years, Gallo observes that whilst everyone who attends the event is powerful, that power can easily be taken away by disenchanted voters, shareholders or other decision makers for example and that there is a “longevity of power.”

The Radar and the Compass is an easy book to read and is filled with anecdotes not just from the author’s own illustrious career but from the worlds of sport, politics, literature and popular culture. Given that much of the content is pulled from Gallo’s experience in the HR profession and from sharing some “tricks of the trade” with the readers, much of the book may be less insightful for seasoned HR professionals (albeit there is often value in stopping and reflecting on some of the points Gallo makes.) I would, however, recommend this book to individuals starting out in their career, at a decision point in their career, or as a useful tool to reflect and take stock on your career to date and the sacrifices you have made to achieve your success.

Review by Adele Swan, Senior People Consultant and Executive Coach, Standard Life Investments

Published by Bloomsbury

The Career Lounge: A New Peer-Education Model?
August 14, 2019
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In the following paper, Nicole Joron, the Career Educator and Peer Co-ordinator at York University introduces ‘The Career Lounge’.

I had the pleasure of joining York University’s Career Centre last summer with the exciting task of developing and launching a new career peer-education program.

The program is part of   a collaborative well-being strategy of peer-led stress-buffering programming across Health Education, Learning Skills, Student Financial Services and the Career Centre. The founding principles of the program were well-being, career self-management, peer education and universal design. After exploring a literature review and environmental scan of existing peer models alongside the needs of the department, we embarked on a mission to create our Career Lounge.

The Career Lounge Model
Circular diagram representing the five steps of career lounge model: invite, listen, connect, explore and own
(Courtesy of York University)

Adapted from The Studio Method at the University of Nevada, the Career Lounge Model has five components: invite, listen, connect, explore and own. Peers use a coaching approach to implement the model and support students and new grads in developing career self-management skills and confidence. “My role involved guiding students through their career questions and empowering them with the resources to navigate their career journeys,” said Zarlasht Jamal, Career Peer Educator and third-year Global Health student.

Career Peer Educators learn the model through a week-long training program with a combination of skill-building, career development content and experiential activities. Peers participate in weekly team meetings throughout the year where they engage in ongoing reflection, discussion and training.

  • Invite: Peers welcome students, explain how the Lounge works and invite them to participate, starting with a welcome form.
  • Listen: Peers use active-listening techniques to better understand the students’ needs and invite them to set a goal for the session. Peers are encouraged to ask at least three open-ended questions before starting to make connections as the students’ career question may evolve as they share their story.
  • Connect: Peers connect students to relevant resources that they can use to build their skills, knowledge and confidence in exploring their career question. Connections are also facilitated between people: peer to peer, peer to student and amongst students.
  • Explore: Students explore resources independently, with a peer and/or with other students visiting the Lounge (or a combination thereof). Students exploring similar resources are invited to sit near each other to facilitate co-exploring and making connections. While students are working, peers shares updates so that all peers working that shift know each student by name and what they are working on.
  • Own: Peers use coaching conversations to facilitate self-ownership of career decisions throughout the connect and explore stages. As students prepare to leave, peers thank them for spending time with us and invite students to identify one next step they will own for their career journey, to complete a feedback form and to return.
York University Career Lounge. (Courtesy of York University)
Setting up the Career Lounge

To facilitate the Career Lounge Model, the physical space of the Career Lounge includes multi-format resources (worksheets, books, posters, desktops, iPads), multi-format workspaces (computer stations, round tables, bean bag chairs, a desk), and accents to help create a welcoming environment (coat rack, lamps, plants, pillows, candy bowls). The Lounge atmosphere was created by moving around furniture in an existing front desk space and multi-purposing an advising station. Peers helped to design the Lounge and selected the finishing touches to create an inviting space.

Navigating the Career Lounge Model

What is most unique about the Career Lounge is that it is not a traditional one-on-one appointment, facilitated group session or workshop. It is a new format entirely that I have been calling a “flexible hybrid.”

The Career Lounge Model strives to remove as many barriers as possible; procedures are minimal, and students are involved in co-creating their experience. Visitors have options for how they would like to navigate their time in the Lounge and are invited to make the experience their own. They can choose their preferred type of seating, resource and work style. Furthermore, they can move between options within one visit.

For example, within one visit, a student utilizing the Lounge for resume help may:

  • Engage in a one-on-one conversation with a peer
  • Explore the resume poster hanging up in the space with another student visiting the Lounge
  • Work independently using a resume worksheet (paper or online)
  • Work with a partner in the Lounge to compare ideas
  • Practice accomplishment statements in a group discussion facilitated by peers
  • Work independently to apply what they learned to updating their resume

Throughout, peers rotate around the room to check on students, ask coaching questions, offer encouragement and resources, facilitate conversation amongst visitors and host closing conversations with students as they leave.

What to expect at the career lounge: students from all programs/years; drop by; work on your own or together; ask any career question; flexible workspace; meet other students; no time limit; Career peer educators on hand; leave with next steps
(Courtesy of York University)
Career Lounge pilot results (September 2018 – April 2019)
  • Visitors were a mix of undergraduates, graduate students, PhD candidates and recent graduates.
  • The number of visitors during a two-to-three-hour shift ranged from one to 18, with two Career Peer Educators.
  • 60% of survey respondents were first-time visitors to the Career Centre; they found out about the Lounge from our website or word of mouth (staff, faculty, friend).
  • While most visitors stayed for 15-30 minutes, visits ranged from five minutes to three hours
  • 90% of survey respondents found the Career Lounge staff and space welcoming, felt that they were referred to appropriate resources and would recommend a friend to visit.
  • Career Peer Educators reported building skills in coaching, assertiveness, reflection and career development.
Career Lounge challenges and benefits

The biggest challenge with the Career Lounge has been managing expectations and orienting visitors to the new Career Lounge Model. Peers also struggled at times to feel that they were providing enough support to each student without maintaining one-on-one contact. Secondly, the Career Lounge requires access to resources in the form of dedicated space, materials and staff (ideally two or more peers per shift).

The largest benefit of the Career Lounge was successfully reaching more students, and a new group of students who were not previously accessing the Career Centre. While many new services take time to grow, students were waiting for us to open on day one and keep coming back. The Career Lounge Model also advances just-in time, individualized service provision, shifts service delivery to peers as first point of contact and positively contributes to well-being outcomes.

Krumboltz’s Careers Theory
August 13, 2019
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John Krumboltz’s planned happenstance theory makes it OK to not always plan, because unplanned events could lead to good careers.

John Krumboltz is an established career theorist. He most recently developed ideas about supporting indecision in clients. He states that indecision is desirable and sensible, as it allows the opportunity for clients to benefit from unplanned events. This theory is called planned happenstance. 

This emerging theory specifically addresses the need for people to deal with change within the rapidly changing labour market. Managing life transitions is seen as an essential career management skill. Krumboltz’s theory offers insight on how to deal with the limited degree of control we have over some career experiences.

At the core of this theory is the fact that unpredictable social factors, chance events and environmental factors are important influences on clients’ lives. As such, the counsellor’s role is to help clients approach chance conditions and events positively. In particular, counsellors foster in their clients:

  • curiosity to explore learning opportunities
  • persistence to deal with obstacles
  • flexibility to address a variety of circumstances and events
  • optimism to maximise benefits from unplanned events.

Krumboltz states that people with these qualities are more likely to capitalise on chance events and turn serendipity into opportunity.

Furthermore, several factors have been highlighted as being helpful in career management, including:

  • the commitment to ongoing learning and skill development
  • ongoing self-assessment
  • assessment and feedback from others
  • effective networking
  • achieving work-life balance
  • financial planning to incorporate periods of unemployment.

These attributes and tasks enable you to turn chance encounters and occurrences into career opportunities.

Sources

  • The Calgary Board of Education, (www.cbe.ab.ca/).
  • Toews, M, ‘Planned Happenstance – Krumboltz: An Emerging Theory’, accessed December 2008, (www.cbe.ab.ca).
  • The University of Hawai’i System, (www.hawaii.edu).
Parsons’ Careers Theory
July 23, 2019
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Frank Parsons developed the idea of matching careers to talents, skills and personality.

People perform best when they are in jobs best suited to their abilities

Frank Parsons is regarded as the founder of the vocational guidance movement. He developed the talent-matching approach, which was later developed into the Trait and Factor Theory of Occupational Choice. At the centre of Parsons’ theory is the concept of matching. 

Parsons states that occupational decision making occurs when people have achieved:

  • an accurate understanding of their individual traits (aptitudes, interests, personal abilities)
  • a knowledge of jobs and the labour market
  • rational and objective judgement about the relationship between their individual traits, and the labour market.

This three-part theory still governs most current practice.

The trait and factor theory operates under the premise that it is possible to measure both individual talents and the attributes required in particular jobs. It also assumes that people may be matched to an occupation that’s a good fit. Parsons suggests that when individuals are in jobs best suited to their abilities they perform best and their productivity is highest.

In his book, ‘Choosing a Vocation’, Parsons maintains that personal counsel is fundamental to the career search. In particular, he notes seven stages for a career counsellor to work through with clients:

  1. Personal data: create a statement of key facts about the person, remembering to include every fact that has bearing on the vocational problem.
  2. Self-analysis: a self-examination is done in private and under the instruction of the counsellor. Every tendency and interest that might impact on the choice of a life work should be recorded.
  3. The client’s own choice and decision: this may show itself in the first two stages. The counsellor must bear in mind that the choice of vocation should be made by the client, with the counsellor acting as guide.
  4. Counsellor’s analysis: the counsellor tests the client’s decision to see if it is in line with the “main quest”.
  5. Outlook on the vocational field: the counsellor should be familiar with industrial knowledge such as lists and classifications of industries and vocations, in addition to locations of training and apprenticeships.
  6. Induction and advice: a broad-minded attitude coupled with logical and clear reasoning are critical at this stage.
  7. General helpfulness: the counsellor helps the client to fit into the chosen work, and to reflect on the decision.

Much of Parsons’ work still guides career counselling today, though it is not without criticism. Matching assumes a degree of stability within the labour market. However, the reality is that the market’s volatility means individuals must be prepared to change and adapt to their circumstances.

Sources

Bandura’s Careers Theory
July 17, 2019
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Watching what others do and the human thought process influences the careers we choose in Albert Bandura’s Social Cognitive Theory.

Summary

Albert Bandura is well regarded for his Social Cognitive Theory. It is a learning theory based on the ideas that people learn by watching what others do, and that human thought processes are central to understanding personality. This theory provides a framework for understanding, predicting and changing human behaviour. 

Attention

You need to pay attention to learn something new. The more striking or different something is (due to colour or drama, for example) the more likely it is to gain our attention. Likewise, if we regard something as prestigious, attractive or like ourselves, we will take more notice. 

Retention

You must be able to retain (remember) what you have paid attention to. Imagery and language pay a role in retention: you store what you have seen the model doing in the form of verbal descriptions or mental images, and bring these triggers up later to help you reproduce the model with your own behaviour.

Reproduction

At this point you have to translate the images or descriptions into actual behaviour. You must have the ability to reproduce the behaviour in the first place. For instance, if you are watching Olympic ice skating you may not be able to reproduce their jumps if you can’t ice skate at all! Our abilities improve even when we just imagine ourselves performing.

Motivation

Unless you are motivated, or have a reason, you will not try to imitate the model. Bandura states a number of motives, including:

  • past reinforcement
  • promised reinforcement
  • vicarious reinforcement.

Albert Bandura has had a large impact on personality theory and therapy. His action-oriented, problem-solving approach appeals to those who want to make changes, rather than simply philosophise.

Sources

  • Boeree, Dr George C, Shippensburg University, ‘Personality Theories: Albert Bandura’, accessed August 2015, (www.ship.edu).
  • York University, Canada, ‘Theories used in IS Research: Social Cognitive Theory’, accessed December 2008, (www.istheory.yorku.ca).
Holland’s Careers Theory
July 4, 2019
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Careers are determined by an interaction between our personality and the environment in John Holland’s Theory of Career Choice. We want jobs with people like us.

John Holland’s Theory of Career Choice (RIASEC) maintains that in choosing a career, people prefer jobs where they can be around others who are like them. They search for environments that will let them use their skills and abilities, and express their attitudes and values, while taking on enjoyable problems and roles. Behaviour is determined by an interaction between personality and environment. 

Holland’s theory is centred on the notion that most people fit into one of six personality types:

  • Realistic
  • Investigative
  • Artistic
  • Social
  • Enterprising
  • Conventional.

Realistic

Description of interest areaSome key skillsSome occupations with Realistic componentsSubjects you could study to give you the skills
Likes to work mainly with hands, making, fixing, assembling or building things, using and operating equipment, tools or machines. Often likes to work outdoorsUsing and operating tools, equipment and machinery, designing, building, repairing, maintaining, working manually, measuring, working in detail, driving, moving, caring for animals, working with plantsPilot, farmer, horticulturalist, builder, engineer, armed services personnel, mechanic, upholsterer, electrician, computer technologist, park ranger, sportspersonEnglish, Maths, Science, Workshop, Technology, Computing, Business Studies, Agriculture, Horticulture, Physical Education

Investigative

Description of interest areaSome key skillsSome occupations with Investigative componentsSubjects you could study to give you the skills
Likes to discover and research ideas, observe, investigate and experiment, ask questions and solve problemsThinking analytically and logically, computing, communicating by writing and speaking, designing, formulating, calculating, diagnosing, experimenting, investigatingScience, research, medical and health occupations, chemist, marine scientist, forestry technician, medical or agricultural laboratory technician, zoologist, dentist, doctorEnglish, Maths, Science, Computing, Technology

Artistic

Description of interest areaSome key skillsSome occupations with Artistic componentsSubjects you could study to give you the skills
Likes to use words, art, music or drama to communicate, perform, or express themselves, create and design thingsExpressing artistically or physically, speaking, writing, singing, performing, designing, presenting, planning, composing, playing, dancingArtist, illustrator, photographer, signwriter, composer, singer, instrument player, dancer, actor, reporter, writer, editor, advertiser, hairdresser, fashion designerEnglish, Social Studies, Music, Drama, Art, Graphic Design, Computing, Business Studies, Languages

Social

Description of interest areaSome key skillsSome occupations with Social componentsSubjects you could study to give you the skills
Likes to work with people to teach, train and inform, help, treat, heal and cure, serve and greet, concerned for the wellbeing and welfare of othersCommunicating orally or in writing, caring and supporting, training, meeting, greeting, assisting, teaching, informing, interviewing, coachingTeacher, nurse, nurse aide, counsellor, police officer, social worker, salesperson, customer service officer, waiter, secretaryEnglish, Social Studies, Maths, Science, Health, Physical Education, Art, Computing, Business Studies, Languages

Enterprising

Description of interest areaSome key skillsSome occupations with Enterprising componentsSubjects you could study to give you the skills
Likes meeting people, leading, talking to and influencing others, encouraging others, working in businessSelling, promoting and persuading, developing ideas, public speaking, managing, organising, leading and captaining, computing, planningSalesperson, lawyer, politician, accountant, business owner, executive or manager, travel agent, music or sports promoterEnglish, Maths, Business Studies, Accounting, Economics, Social Studies, Drama, Computing, Text Information Management, Languages

Conventional

Description of interest areaSome key skillsSome occupations with Conventional componentsSubjects you could study to give you the skills
Likes working indoors and at tasks that involve organising and being accurate, following procedures, working with data or numbers, planning work and eventsComputing and keyboarding, recording and keeping records, paying attention to detail, meeting and greeting, doing calculations, handling money, organising, arranging, working independentlySecretary, receptionist, office worker, librarian, bank clerk, computer operator, stores and dispatch clerkEnglish, Maths, Business Studies, Accounting, Economics, Computing, Text Information Management

Holland asserts that people of the same personality type working together in a job create an environment that fits and rewards their type.

Within this theory there are six basic types of work environment, which correlate directly to the personality types. Holland emphasises that people who choose to work in an environment similar to their personality type are more likely to be successful and satisfied. This idea is important as it shows Holland’s theory can be flexible, incorporating combination types.

Holland’s theory takes a problem-solving and cognitive approach to career planning. His model has been very influential in career counselling. It has been employed through popular assessment tools such as the Self-Directed Search, Vocational Preference Inventory and the Strong Interest Inventory.

You can explore Holland’s model below. Click on each personality type to read more about it.

There is much research to support Holland’s typology. However it is not without criticism, the most common being the prevalence of females to score in three personality types (artistic, social and conventional). According to Holland this is because society channels women into female-dominated occupations.

Sources

  • Jones, L, ‘The Career Key’, accessed December 2008, (www.careerkey.org).
  • ‘Big Picture View of Career Development Theory’, accessed December 2008, (www.ccdf.ca).
  • Savickas, M, and Lent, R, ‘Convergence in Career Development Theories’, Palo Alto, California, USA: Consulting Psychologists Press Inc.
Career Theory and Models Timeline
June 28, 2019
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There are numerous career theories and models, and no single one is sufficient to describe the broad field of career development.

Career theories typically fall into one of three categories which, while not mutually exclusive, can be a useful form of classification:

Theory of process

Theories of process relate to interaction and change over time. This can be characterised by theories in which there are a series of stages through which people pass.

Theory of content

Theories of content relate to the characteristics of the individual and the context they live in. The influences on career development are thought to be either intrinsic to the individual or originate from the context in which the individual lives.

Theory of content and process

Theories of content and process have been formed in response to a need for theory to take into account both of these key areas. These theories encompass both the characteristics of individuals and their context, and the development and interaction between them.

This timeline shows how career theories have evolved over time.

Early 1900s

Theory: Person-environment fit, trait factor

Names: Parsons, Williamson, Holland

Vocational guidance is accomplished first by studying the individual, then by surveying occupations, and finally by matching the individual with the occupation.

Late 1950s

Theory: Developmental

Names: Ginzberg & Associates, Tiedman, Super, Gottfredson, Roe

Career development is a process that takes place over the life span. Career development activities should be designed to meet the needs of individuals at all stages of life.

1960s

Theory: Client-centred

Name: Rogers

Career development is focused on the nature of the relationship between the helper and client. It encompasses the core conditions of unconditional positive regards, genuineness, congruence and empathy.

Late 1970s

Theory: Social learning

Name: Krumboltz

The individual’s unique learning experiences over their lifespan develop primary influences that lead to career choice. 

1980s

Theory: Post-modern

Name: Kelly, Cochran, Jepsen

Truth is discovered subjectively through dialogue rather than through objective testing. This approach emphasises the individual’s experience and decision making through exploring personal constructs and the client’s narrative about their life.

1990s

Theory: Neuro-linguistic programming

Names: Richard Bandler, John Grinder

A way of coding thinking, language and behaviour based on the principle that changing the way one thinks can change behaviour.

1990s

Theory: Happenstance

Name: John Krumboltz

Chance events play a role in every career. The goal for clients is to generate beneficial chance events and have the ability to take advantage of them.

1990s

Theory: Narrative therapy

Names: Michael White and David Epston, Gregory Bateson
Clients are encouraged to separate themselves from their problems (ie, the problem becomes external). The client makes sense of their experiences by using stories.

2000s

Theory: Coaching

A model of practice. All parts of the client’s life are taken into account through regular sessions.

To Tackle Our Mental Health Crisis, Career Guidance Could be Surprisingly Important

Being unemployed tends to be bad for your mental health.

We know this from long-term studies which show that people’s mental health often deteriorates when they become unemployed and can improve when they get a new job. It can be a vicious circle, since people with mental health difficulties can also struggle to get hired.

When you don’t have a job, it tends to reduce your access to things that nourish mental well-being: a sense of identity, a sense of purpose, structure to the day, contact with other people and opportunities to use skills. Not to mention money, which is a big source of anxiety if you don’t have a decent supply coming in.

Young people are particularly at risk here, since they tend to be among the hardest hit when the labour market takes a dive. Indeed, it’s hard enough for them to find work when the employment market is buoyant. And this group have more than their fair share of other threats to their mental well-being. They have to deal with the worst of social media, early heartbreaks and combustible friendships. Many will be experimenting with drink and drugs, getting into conflicts with their parents and struggling to have enough money to stand on their own two feet.

In the UK, for example, around one in six people aged 17-19 have some kind of mental health condition, and the incidence among young people more generally has been steadily climbing. In the US, the suicide rate among 18- to 19-year-olds is up 56% in a decade.

Living with the scars

While many big categories of illness, such as cancers or heart problems, tend to present in mid to late adulthood, mental health conditions often appear when people are teenagers or in their early 20s. In many cases, they recur, and the consequences can multiply over someone’s lifetime.

Though most young people experience only passing phases of unemployment, for those who experience longer periods, there is emerging evidence that it can lead to what has been described as “scarring”. They are more likely to struggle to hold down jobs throughout their lives, for instance, and to earn less. There is also recent evidence from Sweden and the US of health effects well into mid-adulthood. From a broader perspective, this is a serious problem for the economy. It means lost productivity, lower tax revenues, and higher sickness-related benefits and medical/social care costs.

If this makes it obvious that we should do whatever we can to minimise youth unemployment, it’s easier said than done. This is a complicated problem that doesn’t lend itself to quick fixes. Yet one area that deserves much more attention is career guidance. People can sometimes be sceptical about its value, based on vague recollections of adolescent conversations with a career adviser that didn’t seem to make much difference to them.

Yet we mustn’t let this blind us to the potential. Like any kind of one-to-one help, career guidance provides a safe space to share worries and concerns. It helps people to review and recognise their strengths, injects hope by giving them a sense of their possible study and work options, and motivates and equips them to take action. Career guidance can help you figure out who you are, what your goals are, and how to get there – and this kind of clarity can act as a buffer against stress and uncertainty.

Above all, career guidance can prevent unemployment. It enables people to access life opportunities in work and education, and opens up all the benefits of participation. Some government initiatives put pressure on unemployed people to take the first available job, irrespective of its quality or relevance to their lives. But career guidance is about long-term planning based on what motivates an individual. Done well, it sets people on a path that can sustain them in the long term.

Room for improvement

The quality of career guidance varies considerably from country to country. Yet a recent OECD study found common problems around the world, including insufficient resources, inadequately prepared staff, and poorer services for students from disadvantaged areas. The study pointed to a number of problems in England, with students demanding “more and better” advice, while concluding that the service in Scotland was “well developed and comprehensive”.

Across the board, there’s much room for improvement. We need to recognise the role that career guidance can play as a public health intervention. It can potentially reach all young people through the school system, and has good access to the most vulnerable groups. It might help build resilience if combined with teaching young people important life skills, such as career management and stress management.

Career guidance may feel far removed from health, but we need to understand that illness has socioeconomic causes, and at least to some extent, socioeconomic remedies. I find that professionals in this field are slowly waking up to the mental health needs of their client base, but this has yet to filter through to many of those in charge of policy. They need to get the message that properly resourced and consistently delivered career services have the power to improve our mental health – both now and for years into the future.