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Careers and Career Development Research

Use this guide to find print and online resources about career development and how to find jobs in different career fields.

About Books

Reference Books

Reference Books are the best places to find concise summaries and background information on a topic. Reference books cannot be checked out of the library. Many career reference books are available as databases or ebooks and may be the best source to find concise career information on topics such as:

  • Nature of a job or working conditions
  • Training & qualifications required
  • Advancement opportunities & job outlook
  • Earnings or wages
  • Directories to find employers & company information
  • Information about professional organizations

Circulating books

Circulating books (books you can check out) may also provide summaries and background information, but usually go into greater depth about a career.

Using books for research

Using books for research does not always mean that you need to read the entire book.

  • Use the table of contents and the index to find where in a book information about your topic is located.

  • The introduction to a book may be a good place to find background information on the topic the book is about.
  • You should read enough of a book or chapter to understand what an author is saying and quote her correctly.
  • Sometimes chapters in books are complete works written by different authors, making them ideal for research.

Career Reference Books


Search Strategies

You can use the following search strategies for finding career books.

Keyword Searching

Keyword Searching is a very effective way to search in databases. Keyword searching is a strategy which may require repeated attempts before arriving at useful results. When searching, do not use phrases. Instead, take out the keywords or main words out of the phrase and connect them with the word "AND."

For example, do not search for "what is some advice for people interested in nursing careers?" Search instead for: 

nursing career* and advice

Sometimes you may also may want to truncate a keyword with and asterisk (*). This will retrieve words that start with the indicated letters and have any ending up to 5 more letters. For example:

employ* will retrieve employ, employee, employees, employment, etc.

Another useful search string is to combine your career name with the phrase vocational guidance. For example:

nursing and vocational guidance

Results from your keyword searches may also help you identify appropriate Library of Congress Subject Headings. Look at the complete record of a book that works for your topic to find its subject headings. You can then use these headings to search for your topic in ArcherSearch or the Classic Catalog more efficiently. Questions? Ask a Librarian.

Subject Searching

Subject searches use specific predefined or “controlled vocabulary.” Each database creates a customized list (aka a thesaurus) of words to tag similar information. By using Subject assigned terms, you will be able to find materials that may use historic terms, synonyms, regional spellings, and other variations of a topic. Subject searches look only in the Subject Headings or descriptor field for those specific terms. If you do not know specific Subject terms, you will not get effective results. Often you can discover Subject terms from the results of a keyword search.  

The Library of Congress Subject Headings (LC Subject), used in all library catalogs, was designed to address the choices between variant spellings of the same idea, scientific and popular terms, and synonyms. The best way to find specific Subject terms is to start with a keyword search and use the search results to find what controlled vocabulary the database uses for your topic.

Examine the record for this book to discover the LC Subjects headings associated with this book to do an effective subject search on your topic. This example has two associated LC Subject headings; always to try the first one listed.

LC Subject Headings

Below are some examples of useful LC Subject Headings related to career and vocational information in the library classic catalog:

Use ArcherSearch

ArcherSearch is a search tool (discovery service) that searches many sources simultaneously. 

You will find books, ebooks, videos, articles, and links to databases or library guides. Get the most out of ArcherSearch by using the limits listed under All Filters under the search box.

St. Louis Community College Libraries

Florissant Valley Campus Library
3400 Pershall Rd.
Ferguson, MO 63135-1408
Phone: 314-513-4514

Forest Park Campus Library
5600 Oakland
St. Louis, MO 63110-1316
Phone: 314-644-9210

Meramec Campus Library
11333 Big Bend Road
St. Louis, MO 63122-5720
Phone: 314-984-7797

Wildwood Campus Library
2645 Generations Drive
Wildwood, MO 63040-1168
Phone: 636-422-2000