Revisit: 1999 article on “imperatives for career services”

I was looking up some mid-year reading in our library here at UNC and came across a piece from 1999 by Jack Rayman titled “Career Services Imperatives for the Next Millennium.”  This article was a follow up on a 1993 entry in the Jossey-Bass New Directions for Student Services Series titled “The Changing Role of Career Services.”  I thought it would be interesting to post his 10 imperatives and see if anyone has thoughts to share via comments.  I’ll add a few of my thoughts after each imperative.

Imperative 1:  We must acknowledge the lifelong nature of career development and initiate programs and services that enable and encourage students to take responsibility for their own career destiny.

This stands true for me now as it did in 1993 and 1999.

Imperative 2:  We must accept and embrace technology as our ally and shape its use to free staff time for those tasks that require human sensitivity.

Certainly embracing technology continues to be important, but I sense less of a desire to do so to offload certain tasks.  It seems more “with” and “and” these days than “either/or.”

Imperative 3:  We must continue to refine and strengthen our professional identity and that of career services within the academy.

I think we’re feeling this strongly right now with the conversations taking place about the value of education, but I don’t know that our voices were strong in shaping the discussion in the years leading up to now.

Imperative 4:  We must acknowledge and accept that individual career counseling is at the core of our profession and endeavor to maintain and enhance the centrality of individual career counseling in the career development process.

My personal opinion is that while this is still true, it feels a little too narrow for where I think we need to be headed as a field.

Imperative 5:  We must forge cooperative relationships with faculty, advising professionals, other student affairs professionals, administrators, parents, and student groups to take advantage of the “multiplier effect” that such collaborative relationships can have in furthering our goal of enhanced student career development.

Absolutely.  The only shame here is that perhaps we’ve not done enough between 1993, 1999 and now!

Imperative 6:  We must redouble our efforts to meet the changing career development needs of an increasingly diverse student body.

Maybe it’s now time to triple our efforts. 🙂

Imperative 7:  We must accept our position as the most obvious and continuing link between corporate America and the academy, but we must also maintain our focus on career development and not allow ourselves to be seduced into institutional fundraising at the expense of quality career services.

I’m not so sure here.Most universities have well-trained fundraising facilitators in their advancement/development offices.  We have a role to play, but I certainly haven’t seen us sliding toward doing too much of this.

Imperative 8:  We must acknowledge and accept that on-campus recruiting as we have known it is a thing of the past and develop alternative means of facilitating the transition from college to work.

Not so fast!  20 years after the 1993 piece, we’re still doing OCR and career fairs.  We certainly can’t *only* rely on these efforts, and that’s truer now than ever.  So, the core of the argument in Imperative 8 is a good one.  But, they’ve not yet disappeared either.

Imperative 9:  We must resolve the ambiguities that exist about our role in delivering alumni career services and solicit from our alumni associations the resource support necessary to provide these services.

This seems a bit more campus-to-campus than field-wide, as far as problems go.

Imperative 10:  We must advocate more effectively for resources to maintain and increase our role in facilitating student career development within the academy, and we must become more efficient and innovative in our use of existing resources.

Some things never change, right?

What are your reactions to these imperatives?  I’d love to hear from you.

Leave a comment


  1. Leslie Rand-Pickett

     /  December 18, 2013

    Regarding #2, it’s funny, based on the timing I think he may have been referring to online job/OCR/resume systems at least somewhat. was in undergrad and grad school during this phase and they were a pretty new concept at the time and many including NC State developed home grown systems. My first career services job at UNC as an undergrad in the late nineties involved pulling old jobs from 3 ring binders! Boy does that date me!

    One of the few things that apparently has changed in the last 15 years.

  2. garyalanmiller

     /  December 18, 2013

    Great point, Leslie!

  3. Great blog article. I am coming across it only now. All your comments resonate, but I’m not sure what you mean by Imperative 7. You stated you are “not so sure” and haven’t seen us “sliding towards” this. Do you mean “our position as the most obvious and continuing link between corporate America and the academy?” Or that we must “maintain our focus on career development and not allow ourselves to be seduced into institutional fundraising?”

  4. garyalanmiller

     /  January 20, 2015

    Alex – thanks. What I meant was a little of both of your sentiments. But, mostly while we have good connections, our core mission is not to leverage those connections for fundraising intrinsically. We do fundraising, but I’d say we are far from the most logical point persons (typically, although not universally).


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