How did the word “place” creep into the profession of career advising to describe the activities of career professionals? Is job placement what career advisors really do?
To place means:
- To put or set in a particular place, position, situation, or relation
- To appoint a person to a post or office
- To assign a certain position or rank to
If career professionals truly “placed” people, their jobs would be so much easier. Of course, this would mean that somehow, they figured out how to bypass resume reviews, the interviewing process, background checks,drug-screens, skill assessments, personality tests, reference checks, competitors, and essentially, the decision of the employer. Does this even sound possible?
Beyond the fact that the word “place,” is simply an innacurate description of what career professionals do, it is also deceptive and harming to the profession. In my experience, one of the most difficult challenges to overcome when working with students is managing their unrealistic expectations. Students tend to underestimate so many things such as how long it may take to find their first career-related job, how much work goes into developing their interviewing skills, or how important it is to network. Unfortunately, many students also think college career advisors will “place” them. Why shouldn’t they if that is the term used to describe what career advisors do?
- The act or process of developing; growth; progress.
Career development is what career advisors faciliate through education and as the definition states, it is a process – and processes take time. To allow students to think that building their career is as simple as being “placed,” is deceptive and harmful. The “p” word perpetuates false expectations that professional development can be taken lightly, delayed, or even ignored; a harmful belief for young students who don’t know any better. I find it ironic that career professionals teach the importance of choosing the most strategic words to use in a resume or to speak during an interview, yet we’ve somehow let this one invade our profession. Let’s no longer use the “p” word and more accurately say we provide professional development training, career coaching, career strategizing, career counseling, career consulting, career advising, career development facilitation…my point is any of these would be more accurate than career placement. Let’s make the “p” word taboo.