Book by Susan A. Epstein, MS and Janet G. Lenz
Review by Anna Sommer
American Public University System
Students must be able to make informed decisions about their career ambitions in order to connect academic choices to real-world career options. In today’s economy, having useful career information that is easy to access and understand is a great asset when trying to make difficult but necessary career decisions. Most institutions offer career services, but the task of developing or managing a career resource center can be daunting. In Developing and managing career resources, Susan A. Epstein, MS and Janet G. Lenz, PhD outline a foundation for doing just that.
Comparing the search for useful career information to a shopping trip, Epstein and Lenz (2008) state that a career resource center can “make or break the shopping experience” (p.22). A career resource center needs to be well stocked with useful information, organized in a manner that lets students easily browse through the merchandise, and allows students to leave feeling satisfied with the experience. Providing an atmosphere that will attract potential “career shoppers” as well as meet their shopping needs is essential (Epstein and Lenz, 2008).
Though many topics are covered, Epstein and Lenz point out several key components to having a successful career resource center: Developing an organized system to catalog and store career resources, being aware of the many administrative issues involved with running a career resource center, technical resources, and things to think about as a career resource center grows in the future. While covering these various topics, the main theme of the book is information. Career resource centers are centered on gathering, organizing, housing, and disseminating the career information that is essential for students. Epstein and Lenz also point out that in addition to providing information, career resource center personnel must have a keen awareness of the intended audience for their information (p.21).
Even though establishing a balance of useful and accessible information is critical in a career resource center, it can also be one of the most overwhelming components because the amount of career information and resources available are numerous. Students can also feel overwhelmed with the wealth of information and unsure of where to begin. In response to this challenge, and along with helpful tips in the book, Epstein and Lenz provide several appendices with sample forms for ways to catalog resources, evaluation forms to determine if a resource is worth purchasing, and charts on various ways to code occupational information. They also provide appendices for other aspects of a career resource center such as sample job descriptions for different career resource positions and example floor plans for organizing the physical space in a career resource center.
Whether in the beginning stages of developing a career resource center or working with one that is already established, Developing and managing career resources is a useful tool to have on hand. The range of topics covered in the book are beneficial to many audiences, and the appendices make the topics and tips easy to implement. Having an effective career resource center is pertinent to serving the needs of students. In order for students to be successful contributors to society after they complete their studies, institutions must offer resources that will help them make informed academic decisions in relation to their career goals. Offering a well-stocked and organized career resource center is a great step in student empowerment and institutional success.
Developing and managing career resources. (2008). Book by Susan A. Epstein, MS and Janet G. Lenz, PhD. Review by Anna Sommer. Broken Arrow, OK: National Career Development Association, 101 pp. ISBN # 987-1-885333-19-3