11/01/2013

Career Moves: Be Strategic About Your Future

Book Review By Bryan Lubic

Williams, C. and Reitman, A. (2013). Career moves: Be strategic about your future. (Revised and Enhanced 3rd edition). Alexandria, VA: ASTD Press. (201 pages).  ISBN-13: 978-1562868680.

 

 

The third edition of Career Moves: Be Strategic About Your Future uses an innovative approach to offer well-researched, revised and enhanced content for effective career management in the field of training and development.

 

Williams and Reitman have effectively combined solid career development content with an effective, interactive structure to create a career development book that will be useful as a reference, workbook, or textbook.

 

Section One explains the latest workforce trends and what they mean for training and development professionals, the ASTD Competency Model, and shows how and why training and development professionals should distinguish themselves in their field.

 

Section Two includes self-directed, individualized exercises and case studies to help emphasize “the how and why of the career management process,” (p. xii). It’s thorough, detailed, and tailored to the training and development professional.

 

The primary audiences that would benefit from this book

 

1) Career development professionals who are interested in

  • helping people in the training and development field to effectively manage their careers by applying and integrating the competency model used by their profession (American Society for Training & Development Competency Model);

  • learning more about how the competency models in a profession can be used as a powerful career development guide and model for the people in that profession;

  • expanding their understanding of and experience with a wide range of career development activities;

  • seeing how other career development professionals have created an organized, interactive and integrated career development book.

 

2) Training and development professionals who are interested in

  • managing and developing their own careers in a way that integrates and applies the ASTD competency model to their career development and career path;

  • providing or offering career development programming that connects the ASTD Competency model to training and development professionals and career development within the profession.

 

Key Strengths and Contributions of this Book

 

1) Connecting and integrating career development with the competency model of a profession

 

Smartly arranged in two main sections, each with well-formatted callouts, insights, and references to further action and application (both online and otherwise), this edition integrates the latest research and insights on workforce development trends and career management into the ASTD Competency Model.

 

By doing so, the authors provide an excellent way for professionals in training and development to use the competency model of their profession as a guide for their own career management.

 

2) Providing excellent (and thorough) exercises and activities, with plenty of supporting resources

 

Williams and Reitman include four case studies, called  “Meet some T&D professionals.” Each case is based on a particular career decision situation and typical path of a training and development professional. The profiles are realistic, authentic, and well-developed.

 

At the end of each chapter, the “Chapter Highlights” section includes action-oriented prompts for further reflection and engagement with the materials, exercises and activities. The included checklists are excellent for use in career management as well as career development. For example, a 60+ item checklist on “Work Engagement Considerations,” adapted from ASTD materials and organized into clear sections, could be useful as a reference for career development professionals for intake or assessment.

 

The authors describe their Professional Design Plan (PDP), “a blueprint for how, when, and where to turn your dream into reality.” (p. 110). It is a “working document” and “a strategic procedure with a long term perspective on your T&D career.” (p. 110). Plenty of prompts and guided activities help clients as well as trainers or counselors to make the most of the content through active application.

 

Finally, the outstanding emphasis on the importance of proactive career management and worker well-being is inspiring and empowering. Williams and Reitman clearly advocate for their reader—they want workers to succeed! It shows throughout the book, in the positive, proactive, supportive tone and the recurring emphasis on reflection and action.

 

Limitations of this book

 

First and foremost, this book is specifically designed with the training and development professional in mind. While the workplace trends and career management principles are universal, this book integrates them tightly into into the training and development profession. As a result, this is a specialized and focused resource. General readers might prefer to view other titles.

 

Second, some of the review items in the “Chapter Highlights” sections are helpful and prompt good reflection or positive action. However, several of the question-based prompts seemed like unnecessary quizzes, asking the reader to list or define key terms from the chapter. In one case, I couldn’t find the answers in the chapter, and no answer key was provided.

 

Finally, some of the exercises and case studies could be improved with minor changes to the formatting to improve readability and impact, For example, in the case studies, including a table summarizing each person profiled and their key characteristics, or in some of the exercises, including additional space to allow readers to write their answers.

 

These limitations are minor and can be easily managed. For any quiz items that don’t appeal to you, skip them. There are plenty of excellent prompts to support your success. For the case studies, create your own profiles and summaries as a way to deepen your own learning, or as an assignment when using this book as a text.

 

The Bottom Line: Highly Recommended

 

Highly recommended for the intended audiences listed above, or for anyone interested in seeing an excellent example of the integration of career management into the competency model of a specific profession.

 

As a member of both communities--career development and training and development, I will be sharing and recommending this book often. It will make an excellent resource for my local chapter of ASTD, and it may soon become the assigned reading for it’s career and professional development program.


 


Bryan LubicBryan Lubic, M.A., CCMC, is a Professional Development Advisor at San Diego State University.  He is also a law school graduate and a certified career coach.  Career Convergence and NCDA appreciate his volunteer work as the Associate Editor of the Organizations Department. He can be reached at blubic@mail.sdsu.edu.

 


1 Comment

Elizabeth Craig on Saturday 11/02/2013 at 12:05AM wrote:

Congratulations Bryan on this excellent book review! I totally agree with you that Dr. Caitlin Williams and Annabelle Reitman focus on positive, proactive career management with emphasis on reflection and action. I highly recommend this book, too!


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