Browsing Centre for Educational Research and Innovation by Subjects
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Advising on career image: perspectives, practice and politicsThis article analyses qualitative data gathered from a survey of career practitioners on the issue of career image (n = 355, 75% female, 89% white and 78% from the UK). Findings reveal three key themes which represent how career image relates to practitioners’ values and beliefs, how practitioners make decisions about whether to address the topic in their practice and the strategies they use to address career image with their clients. Findings are discussed with reference to Watts’s socio-political ideologies of guidance. The data indicate that career practitioners are often uncomfortable about discussing career image, but address it where they believe that it is important to their clients’ success. While some practitioners believe the existing structures to be unjust, they generally seek to address this injustice at the individual level rather than seeking any kind of social transformation.
Graduate dress code: How undergraduates are planning to use hair, clothes and make-up to smooth their transition to the workplaceThis article explores the relationship between students’ identities, their ideas about professional appearance and their anticipated transition to the world of work. It is based on a series of semi-structured interviews with 13 students from a vocationally-focused university in England. It was found that participants viewed clothing and appearance as an important aspect of their transition to the workplace. They believed that, if carefully handled, their appearance could help them to fit in and satisfy the expectations of employers, although some participants anticipated that this process of fitting in might compromise their identity and values. The article addresses students’ anticipated means of handling the tension between adapting to a new environment and ‘being themselves’. It is argued that the way this process is handled is intertwined with wider facets of identity – most notably those associated with gender.