Career by Design: Communicating Your Way to Success (2nd Edition)

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9780130917577: Career by Design: Communicating Your Way to Success (2nd Edition)
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Exceptionally readable, well-illustrated, and current, this unique presentation of career development techniques and skills incorporates both the prerequisite of “designing” a successful career, interpersonal aspects — a healthy self-awareness and effective communication — and the “nuts and bolts” practicalities of pursuing career goals. This explanation/suggestion-packed text also has a variety of thought-provoking questions/thinking-doing activities. It inspires and guides readers to think creatively and critically rather than just engage in or accept a one-way job hunt. The handbook emphasizes self-understanding and effective communication as it relates to interacting positively with others, presenting oneself in writing, interviewing with confidence, developing your career, building relationships at work and handling career challenges. For individuals at all levels of employment interested in developing their careers.

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About the Author:

Sharon L. Hanna is Chair of Social Sciences, Academic Education, at Southeast Community College in Lincoln, Nebraska. She has developed courses in both career development and interpersonal relations. Her enthusiasm for teaching has been demonstrated to a variety of students in New Jersey, Illinois, and Nebraska, and she has earned awards for faculty achievement and outstanding teaching. Her research on the strengths of stepfamilies has been published in academic journals, and she served as national president of Stepfamily Association of America. She is also the author of Person to Person: Positive Relationships Don't Just Happen, 4th Edition, published by Prentice Hall in 2003. Married to Bob Dinkel for 25 years, she has two daughters, two stepsons, a granddaughter, and a grandson.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Why do people work? The first answer that often comes to mind is money. Yet, is that all there is to it? If so, thousands of educators, including myself, would have pursued other careers.

As you design your career, you are wise to ponder the question of why you want to work and consider the reasons you have chosen a particular path. If your career involves what you consider to be meaningful work, the rewards are innumerable. These include:

  • To gain a significant purpose in life
  • To use talents and abilities
  • To broaden knowledge
  • To enlarge one's social sphere
  • To become more interesting and interested
  • To experience enjoyment and have fun
  • To increase self-esteem
  • To develop better physical and mental health
  • To make a meaningful contribution

The list goes on and on. To avoid or shortchange this vital part of life would be a major mistake, and to work only for money invites dissatisfaction and disappointment.

Think of the most personally rewarding reasons for pursuing a career. Then, consider what would be the most satisfying career for you-just the first of several important decisions. After a selection, the active design of your career takes center stage. Without deliberate planning and action, it's possible that you will achieve satisfaction—but not likely. This book leads you through an entire career life.

Beginning with the self, you will gain insight and understanding of all the elements of a successful career. Learning to interact positively with others, including ways to improve interpersonal skills, follows. The actual career design includes research and choices, then culminates with a successful job search. The final chapters invite you to examine the entire career path, develop positive work relationships, and learn how to handle challenges.

As you either have or will discover, one point is clear. No one way is 100 percent best for everyone's career development. This book contains many opinions, ideas, research findings, and recommendations. Even though general consensus exists, much is debatable, and critical thinking can help you choose what will work best for you.

I viewed this second edition as an opportunity to emphasize even more the extreme importance of interpersonal skills in your career. Throughout life, the ability to communicate will lead individuals to success—or to failure. A Rider University survey of 428 companies named interpersonal relations as one of the top five entry-level requirements and listed it as the top barrier to promotion. In looking at the workplace of the new future, publications in the United States (Carrig, 1999) and Canada (Canadian Manager, 1999) rate interpersonal and communication abilities as essential. In fact, the assertion is made that interpersonal and communication skills will either make or break a person's career success (Carrig, 1999). Recognizing that this is true, this book does what most career books do not: it interweaves communication and other interpersonal skills throughout the chapters. You can benefit greatly both professionally and personally from learning and practicing the interpersonal skills that are not a "given" for anyone.

Another major opportunity was to explore how far technology has come in the four years since I wrote the first edition. That book introduced its readers to using the Internet, and at the time, my providing a list of five Web sites seemed sufficient. Comparing that to what is offered in this book is an eye-opener to a rapidly changing world. Consider what is predicted (Boyle, Summer, & Koby, 1999):

  • The number of online job seekers will rise from the current 1-2 million to 5-10 million by 2003.
  • There will be an explosive growth in the number of Web job postings, online resumes, and online job matches.
  • By 2003, all large employers will be posting jobs online, with small firms close behind.

This book will assist you in being an active participant in the electronic revolution of career development.

What will not change are the basics of presenting yourself honestly and confidently in writing and in person. As you design your own career, this book can be a useful companion and valuable guide. I agree with Larry Hubka, Ph.D., Chief Academic Officer, Quest Education, who says, "There is an old adage in the business world that says, 'You never have a second chance to make a good first impression.' Unfortunately, colleges have not done a very good job preparing students to apply in writing and to interview for career positions. I believe all college-level curricula should address these critical areas."

By reading the book and completing the activities in KEY STEPS (following Chapter 8), along with taking courses that enhance your career skills, you will have an advantage that will set you apart from the competition. I would like to know how the process goes for you. I invite comments, suggestions, and questions from you—the reader!

Is a career that important? My response is an enthusiastic "Yes"! Even though being a wife and mother have both been greatly rewarding, my life would not be fulfilled without the rewards of an extremely satisfying career. My hope is that through this book you will catch my enthusiasm and then learn and apply the material to ensure your own career success. Above all, enjoy the process and the rewards of career development by your own design!

Sharon L. Hanna

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