Book by Debra S. Osborn, Margaret Riley Dikel, James P. Sampson Jr., & JoAnn Harris-Bowlsbey
Review by Janis Albright
Student Success Advisor
Student Success Office, Portland
University of Southern Maine

If you find it challenging to keep your career knowledge and techniques up to date, this concise 86 page paperback can help you.   Four experts share a wealth of ideas on this ever changing field, such as the role of social networking sites (SNS’s) in career planning and how to create a virtual career center.  In addition the units cover ways students can use information to make career choices, tips on how advisors can use the internet in personal and distance advising, sample online resources, and ethical concerns of online information.

Although the book speaks to a broad audience of practitioners who facilitate career exploration, most material is relevant to academic advisors.  For example, at times it is beneficial to have the perfect website at our fingertips to answer a specific advisee question. The authors provide a well-organized and comprehensive directory of online resources including information for diverse audiences (e.g. military, ex-offenders, the mature client), different occupations (e.g. natural sciences, recreation), and practical statistics (e.g. salary scales, financial aid information).

In addition to the directory, another unit addresses how advisors help our students use and analyze factual information and conduct career exploration within the breadth of internet information. Advisors should, according to (Osborn, Dikel, Sampson, Jr.,, and Harris-Bowlsbey, 2011) consider their students’ “readiness for career planning and need to use the Internet within the context of a counseling relationship in order to make effective use of the overwhelming number of resources that are available” (p.18).  Therefore it is our job to assess what information will be most beneficial when meeting with our advisees.

This explanation complements NACADA’s The handbook of career advising.  Authors (Hughey, Nelson, Damminger, McCalla-Wriggins & Associates, 2009) state,

 “In successful career development interventions, the responsibility for gathering data and using career information resources belongs to both the academic advisor and the student, with advisors modeling effective research strategies that students can emulate and adopt “(p.151).

In addition to using online information in research, I think that the content explains valuable ways academic advisors can use the internet in face-to face and distance counseling.  For example, suggestions are given on how websites can help our advisees develop an individual learning plan, take assessments, and more. The book also reminds readers that differences exist between face-to-face counseling and distance career counseling.  According to (Osborn, Dikel, Sampson, Jr., and Harris-Bowlsbey,2011) advisors need to “develop additional skills in identifying emotions when visual data from the client and the practitioner are unavailable” (p 17).

Overall, the only “drawback” to this book is because the information is in “real time” content will have to be updated frequently.  Perhaps an online book version could be made available since websites frequently change, and because more information will become available.

In summary, this paperback is a wonderful addition to any advising library. Its information can aid advisors in helping our advisees articulate their college vision and goals to support their future livelihood. The content excels at tying together learning theory from our field to provide a framework for the important career exploration conversations we will have with our students.


Hughey, K.F., Nelson, D.N., Damminger, J.K., McCalla-Wriggins, B., & Associates. (2009). The handbook of career advising. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Osborn, D.S., Dikel, M.R., Sampson, J.P., & Harris-Bowlsbey, J., (2011). The internet: A tool for career planning. (3rd Edition).  Broken Arrow, OK: National Career Development Association.

The Internet: A tool for career planning.  (3rd Edition). (2011). Book by Debra S. Osborn, Margaret Riley Dikel, James P. Sampson Jr., & JoAnn Harris-Bowlsbey. Review by Janis Albright.  Broken Arrow, OK: National Career Development Association. 86 pp.,$25.00, (paperback), ISBN# 978-1885333-30-8

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