So What Is Career Development?
CAREER has been defined as the "time extended working out of a purposeful life pattern through work undertaken by the person" (Reardon, Lenz, Sampson, and Peterson, as cited in Zunker, 2006, p. 9). This also includes "activities and positions involved in vocations, occupations, and jobs as well as to related activities with an individual's lifetime of work" (Zunker, 2006, p. 9).
At the Career Development Office, we recognize the advantages of working together with a knowledgeable and distinguished faculty and staff in order to effectively serve the students of Grinnell College. As the students here receive intensive personal guidance from their faculty mentors and an education rooted in active experience, the Career Development Office seeks to create an honest, open, and student-focused partnership with the faculty and all college staff. In keeping with the spirit of Grinnell College's history of providing exceptional guidance while encouraging students to be self-directed, the staff in the Career Development Office offers a number of group and individual services to provide sufficient career-related support for students, while also offering them a sufficient amount of challenge to enable them to grow personally and professionally. It is our hope that by working as one with the faculty and staff of Grinnell College that we can offer the best possible career services for our students so that they can excel in their lives after Grinnell, whether in future studies or occupations.
Career Development Overview
Career Development Theory
(taken from Career Counseling: A Holistic Approach by Vernon G. Zunker)
Career development essentially began in the late 1890's in the form of placement services in large cities due to the increased growth of industry. It soon began to find its way into elementary and secondary schools as vocational guidance before eventually arriving in institutions of higher education. Initially, career counseling was more vocational in nature, focusing on matching a person's abilities and assets with the duties and requirements of a specific job. Now, however, career counseling takes a much more holistic approach, by examining not only the traits of a person, but also their life as a whole, and how all facets of their life are interrelated-especially regarding their career choice. Career development theories tend to come from three basic perspectives: trait-oriented theories, social learning and cognitive theories, and developmental theories. Below are brief overviews of each, with links to summaries of a few key theorists in career development (click on their names to learn more).Trait-oriented theories essentially suggest that human traits such as aptitudes, interests, and personality can be matched with certain work environments for a means of evaluating potential work sites. Along with this, self-knowledge essential for evaluating career information, so the idea is that one observes work environments from several perspectives, including work requirements, personal-environment-fit, and potential reinforcers of one's personal needs. Perhaps the most widely used and well-know contributor is Holland.pdf, who is still a major influence on career development to this day.
Social learning and cognitive theories tend to place an emphasis on self knowledge as the foundation for making a career decision. These theories consider information-processing skills important and take into account the importance of human traits (ability, personality, values), using direct research to examine how these variables interrelate to influence growth and development. Other important factors include: social, cultural, economic conditions. Social learning and cognitive theories also introduce the concept of self-efficacy: the belief in one's ability to do something can have an impact on the success one has (high self-efficacy leads to success, while low self-efficacy leads to failure). In these theories, faulty beliefs are aggressively addressed, and learning programs help to increase a range of career choices, as learning to process information effectively is a major goal. One of the lead theorists in this area is Krumboltz.pdf at Stanford University.
Lastly, the developmental career theories suggest that individuals make changes during developmental stages and adapt to changing life roles based on the idea of their "self-concept", which is the driving force that establishes a career pattern. Individuals circumscribe or narrow career choice through sex awareness that is determined by one's social class, level of interests, and experiences with sex typing. Developmental theories also give a perspective of career development that is continuous and discontinuous and is indeed multidimensional. Clients are involved in several life roles simultaneously and success in one life role facilitates success in another. Some clients simply are not prepared to make an optimal career decision, so the goal is to assist each client to develop an accurate picture of self in multiple life roles. Perhaps one of the most cited developmental theorists is Super.pdf.
Finally, another approach we use to assist Grinnell College students is to help them explore their personality. By learning more about their tendencies, they will be able to better identify career areas that they may feel are a better "fit", and in this way find a direction for their life after Grinnell that is much more satisfying and rewarding. One way we aid them in this process is using FOCUS, a self-guided career exploration and assessment tool, where they can examine how their personality may fit with certain careers and majors. Part of FOCUS is based on the Myers.pdf.We hope that you have found the above information helpful in gaining a clearer understanding of our field (and our passion), and will take every opportunity to partner with the CDO and refer your students to our office so that they may make use of our programs and services!
For more information on Career Development and how it relates to college students, explore:
- Chickering, A. W., & Reisser, L. (1993). Education and identity (2nd ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
- Mitchell, K. E., Levin, A. S., & Krumboltz, J. D. (1999). Planned happenstance: Constructing unexpected career opportunities. Journal of Counseling & Development, 77(2), 115-124.
- Zunker, V. G. (2006). Career counseling: A holistic approach (7th ed.). Belmont, CA: Thomson Brooks-Cole.