Reardon, R. C., Lenz, J. G., Peterson, G. W., & Sampson, J. S., Jr. (2019). Career Development and Planning: A Comprehensive Approach (6th ed.). Dubuque, IA: Kendall-Hunt. ISBN: 9781524977573 (print); ISBN: 978-1-5249-9247-7 (e-book)

Review by Laura Beth Lancaster, University of Florida, [email protected]

This text provides a comprehensive approach to career development. Fouad, Ghosh, Chang, Figueiredo, and Bachhuber (2016) discuss the challenges and difficulties college students may face with not just declaring a major but also knowing how to choose a career path as well. They mention how “it is important for professionals in higher education to not only understand these difficulties, but also to develop and implement strategies to help students accomplish these developmental milestones.”

This text does just that. The chapters flow nicely into one another leading the individuals utilizing the text to learn more about themselves and how they process decisions, to ending with the actual job search and how to conduct one.

Part I focuses on the individual and assists readers with finding a better understanding of who they are and how they make decisions. Chapter 2 focuses on values and helps students understand more about why they may have been attracted to a certain job or industry. Understanding individual values may help a student explore career options, as these values can crossover with multiple occupations and industries. Chapter 2 also goes into Dr. John Holland’s typology theory, which describes individuals as one of six personality types, also known as the RIASEC Hexagon: Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, or Conventional. This can assist the individual with finding what they may be interested in based on their personality type and work setting preferences. This chapter analyzes the idea of skills in addition to values and interests. The authors note that “skills involve the tools, the behaviors, that will move us forward to implementing our values and engaging in the things we like” (p. 27 ). 

Part II of the textbook explores external factors that may affect an individual’s career path and the decision-making process when it comes to choosing a career. Chapter 6 identifies four different types of external factors and social forces that may shape current career fields and careers in the future. These four factors are: “(a) global economy and technology, (b) organizational culture, (c) alternative ways of working, and (d) work and family roles.” It is stressed that these four factors cannot be separated and that they will often overlap one another. Chapters 7 to 10 explore each of these four factors more in depth and do an excellent job of tying in the underlying theme of the text by utilizing the cognitive information processing paradigm. Students have the opportunity to examine modern day macro-level factors that affect career choices, which they can strategically implement into their own career plans.

Part III allows the students to put what they have learned in parts I and II of the text into practice. Students will learn how to effectively communicate in the job search, they will learn how to create a working résumé and individualized cover letters, and in addition to this they will understand how to negotiate and evaluate job offers. Part III also teaches students a practical approach to the job search, and shows students what they can usually expect from their first job once they have started at the organization. This is unique to this text, as many other career books solely focus on the job search and career preparation. The same chapter displays a comprehensive chart comparing the job culture to college culture, a boss compared to a college professor, and the learning processes in both the work environment and the college environment. This is a transition that can be overlooked, but it is important to point out and it gives students something they can grasp on what to expect. This chapter also goes into detail on life outside of work, i.e., personal finances, travel, loans/credit/savings, food, living, and wardrobe (pgs. 265-246). This helps the reader understand that while a job is a big part of one’s life, there are so many factors involved outside of this as well.

There is also an instructor’s manual available for this textbook. This manual includes all of the activities, lesson plans, PowerPoint presentations for each chapter, presentation suggestions, current syllabi, sample syllabi, tests/quizzes, and grading rubrics. This supplemental manual can be invaluable for those looking into creating a career development course.

Anecdotally, I can say that I was first introduced to this textbook while team-teaching a career development course. I was so impressed with the layout of the course and textbook that I have continued to implement many parts of the text in a similar career development course that I am now teaching at another university. Many of the text chapters include a group/class activity that students enjoy and really helps them grasp the concepts being taught.


Fouad, N. A., Ghosh, A., Chang, W., Figueiredo, C., & Bachuber, T. (2016). “Career exploration among college students.” Journal of College Student Development, 57, 460–464., doi:10.1353/csd.2016.0047.

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