Career Development & Planning: A Comprehensive Approach (5th edition)

Book Review by Dawn Friedman and Brian Montalvo

Reardon, R. C., Lenz, J. G., Peterson G. W., & Sampson, J. P. (2017). Career Development & Planning: A Comprehensive Approach (5th edition). Dubuque, IA: Kendall Hunt. 293 pages.


When we first read this book, we were delighted to see that these four authors and colleagues had drawn on their entire professional experience to update and present tremendously relevant topics in a way that is manageable, full of illustrations, and pragmatic. Despite having spent many years teaching similar concepts, we found ourselves being deeply influenced, motivated, and even inspired by the material, which is rich in theory and citations.

Textbook Overview
Now in its fifth edition, Career Development & Planning: A Comprehensive Approach provides instructors, career counselors and students with the tools to solve career problems and indecision through a cognitive psychology lens. This approach, Cognitive Information Processing (CIP), was created by the four authors, who are well regarded and heavily cited in career development literature.

Using a holistic approach to career education and decision-making, this textbook has three sections which guide the reader through the CASVE Decision-Making Cycle, from knowing a career-related decision needs to be made to feeling confident about a choice. (The CASVE cycle involves decision-making based on Communication, Analysis, Synthesis, Valuing, and Execution.)

Part I (Chapters 1-5) explains the theoretical base and assists readers in identifying their interests, skills, and values, as well as their career-related options. This section goes a step beyond several competitors by then challenging students to think about their career decisions, teaching the importance of having sound metacognitive skills.

Part II (Chapters 6-10) acknowledges that not all career decisions are made intrinsically. Outside forces (e.g., technology and global economic markets, organizational culture, alternative ways of working, and the relationships between spouses and partners at home and at work) that either increase or limit our options are discussed in this section, as well as how our metacognitions of these macro-level forces influence our career decisions.

Part III (Chapters 11-15) propels readers’ thinking from learning about themselves and their career options to implementing a strategic career plan. Metacognition is again at the forefront of these practical and concrete chapters on launching an employment campaign, the role of written and interpersonal communication in job hunting, negotiating and evaluating job offers, and finally transitioning to one’s first job and early career moves.


An Interview with the Primary Author, Robert C. Reardon, Ph.D.
Apart from analyzing the book cover to cover, we spent an afternoon with Dr. Robert Reardon conversing, probing, getting a better understanding of what motivated this work, understanding the long-term vision, and ultimately why we should pay attention to this new edition.

Q1: What significant changes have been made to the 5th edition of Career Development & Planning: A Comprehensive Approach?

“The main change is the labor market information. There is a good bit of new information about occupations, employment, ways that people are working, issues related to work-life balance, and quite a few changes related to the internet – just websites and the way in which the internet is effecting career information, both content and the dissemination and processing of it.”

Q2: How do you feel that using a cognitive approach (CIP/CASVE) throughout the book benefits the reader?

“This is a unique book in that regard. I don’t think any other career textbooks, at least for high school or college students, are based on a theory or try to incorporate a theory into the work. What I think it does is provide an ongoing cognitive structure [scaffolding] for collecting, analyzing, and using a huge amount of information that effects college students’ career planning. It is easy to get overwhelmed by all the trees in the forest, and the theory helps to structure and guide that exploration process.”

Q3: Which chapter was the most compelling for you to research and write?

“The chapters in Part II were challenging for a variety of reasons. For example, in Chapter 10, we took out everything related to gender [husband, wife, married], and inserted terms having to do with spouse or partner.”

Q4: This textbook is extremely comprehensive, covering topics from an introduction to career planning to the first job and early career moves. Is there a specific class standing who would benefit from the material most?

“Parts I and II are most relevant for lower division students. Some upper division students are primarily interested in Part III, but then when they get into the class they have access to the whole book and often realize that there’s information in Parts I and II that is relevant for them as they go through the interview process with employers.”

Q5: Why would others find this text useful?

“Careful thought and research went into the creation of this 5th edition and the related instructor’s manual in order to provide an unparalleled learning experience for students and instructors alike. Evidence-based theory is at the foundation of each chapter, and numerous refereed journal articles are cited throughout the text and syllabus. In addition to providing a comprehensive structure for teaching and making important career decisions, this text is very user-friendly in its approach, including an informative glossary for students, PowerPoints, Instructor Guides, a syllabus, test items, and activity suggestions for the instructor.”


Applying the Text in Career Services
This book will help readers learn new ideas, dive deeper into old ideas with new applications, and broaden their understanding of career development. To our surprise, we have also learned that the new ideas and tools described in the book can enable vital exchanges outside of the classroom. Regardless of the service-delivery medium, this updated text has already proven valuable for career practitioners at Florida Atlantic University. Relevant chapters have been assigned to incoming staff members during their training and select apps are being used to bring new depth to visual learners during individual career counseling appointments. In addition to being a thorough and detailed theoretical text, the fifth edition of Career Development & Planning: A Comprehensive Approach is a practical tool for the use of all career practitioners. 


Dawn FriedmanDawn Friedman, M.S., NCC, RMCHI is a Career Counselor at the Florida Atlantic University Career Center. She has served on the NCDA Program Committee since 2015 and the Awards Selection Committee for the Florida Association of Colleges and Employers. Dawn has worked in career services since 2014. She teaches undergraduate career development courses and chairs several committees and initiatives at the FAU Career Center. She may be contacted at dfriedman2012@fau.edu



Brian Montalvo 2016Brian Montalvo, Ed.S., NCC, MCC served as NCDA’s Trustee (2015 - 17) for Higher Education Career Counselors and Specialists. He is an NCDA Leadership Academy alumnus (2012-2013). He has worked in career services since 2004. He currently serves as the Sr. Director for Career Advising, Counseling and Education at the Florida Atlantic University (FAU) Career Center. Brian is a frequent contributor to career development publications and has taught graduate and undergraduate career development courses. He may be contacted at bmontal1@fau.edu



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1 Comment

Cynthia Marco Scanlon   on Tuesday 09/05/2017 at 01:01 PM

Thanks Dawn and Brian! I am going to use this info in my graduate Career Counseling class!!!

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